Saturday, June 10, 2023

INEC advised to be punctual on election day

“But (the) majority of the polling units commenced the process behind schedule and some even at 10:30 a.m., two hours late.”

• February 24, 2023
Mahmood Yakub
Mahmood Yakub

An Enugu-based NGO, African Network For Peace And Good Governance (ANPG), has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure the early arrival of voting materials and INEC officials at the polling centres on election days.

The group also calls on the commission to develop and adopt workable measures that will ensure the functionality of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during the polls.

This is contained in a statement signed by the group’s executive director, Bede Aneke, on Friday.

Mr Aneke noted that repeated reports of the late arrival of INEC officials and materials, malfunctioning of smart card readers, and late accreditation had affected the previous elections, thereby disenfranchising some voters.

He urged the election umpires to ensure that all eligible voters were not prevented from casting their ballots due to the challenges.

The director noted that since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, the country had conducted six general elections, pointing out that there had been reports of the late arrival of INEC officials and voting materials in each of the polls.

He said in the 2015 general elections, the polling process commenced at 8:00 a.m., which entailed authentication of PVCs, fingerprints and verification in the voter register.

“But (the) majority of the polling units commenced the process behind schedule and some even at 10:30 a.m., two hours late,” said Mr Aneke.

He cited an example with the Anambra governorship election. YIAGA Africa, an election observer, noted that 28 per cent of the polling units commenced accreditation as scheduled, and voting began at 10:30 a.m.

According to the group, the late arrival of election officials, materials, accreditation, and voting had denied thousands of voters the right to exercise their civic responsibility.

While commending INEC for the introduction of BVAS, the director tasked the commission to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible polls.


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