Voters decry late arrival of materials, officials in Nasarawa, Delta, Abia, Borno, Lagos


Voters in Lafia, Nasarawa State have expressed their dissatisfaction with INEC over the late arrival of material and officials to the various polling units within the metropolis.

The voters, who turned out enmasse at various polling units, were still waiting for the electoral officials as 11.25 a.m.

At Ungwan-mangu polling unit of Akurba ward in Lafia, voting was yet to start at about 11:15 am as most of the voters were becoming agitated.

Mallam Aliyu Abubakar, a voter, expressed disappointment over the delay and called on INEC to urgently address the situation.

Abubakar, however, said he would not be discouraged by the development as he was determined to cast his ballot.

Similarly, at Tudun-Kauri polling unit in Ciroma ward,  Bukan-sidi polling units 10, 11 and 17, voting was yet to start at 11:20 am.

Dr Uthman Ajidagaba, Nasarawa Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, said that the commission was working hard to address the challenges.

He assured voters that no eligible voter would be disenfranchised during the polls.

Meanwhile, the  voter turnout in Lafia was impressive contrary to the anticipated voter apathy as a result of the postponement of the elections last week.

Also, non availability of ink delayed accreditation and voting for over four hours in some polling units in Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State.
As at noon, the exercise had yet to commence in Ward 3 Ogwashi-Uku where an INEC ad hoc staff, who gave her name simply as Juliet, said there was no ink for stamping of result sheets and thumb printing.
“We arrived here at about 8:55 am, but could not commenced accreditation and voting due to unavailability of ink for stamping of result sheets and thumb printing.
“We have sent a message to our supervisor, but did not get immediate response and that is why the voters are complaining.
“However, we made efforts on our own and that is why we are starting late,” she said.
A voter, Mr. Emmanuel Okoh, said that INEC should be held responsible for the delay in voting.
According to him, INEC has failed Nigerians again by not providing the necessary logistics to ensure a hitch-free election.
Okoh said: “This is unacceptable. How can we be talking of lack of ink on an election day? What do you call that?
“If I may ask, did INEC not prepare for this election before now?
Many voters left in anger after waiting on the queue for hours.
However, accreditation and voting finally started at about 12: 35 pm, after the intervention of a good Samaritan, Mr Emmanuel Ashinze who later provided ink.
Ashinze, the President-General of the Ogwashi-Uku Development Association (ODA), expressed disappointment over the development.
“It is so disappointing that we are talking about lack of ink today. This is a big flop on the part of INEC,” he said
Attempts to reach the Head of Voter Education and Publicity of INEC in Delta, Mr Bukola Ojeme, for comments proved abortive as he did not pick his calls.

In Abia State, the late arrival of materials at the 198 wards marred the timely commencement of the elections.
Although voters started turning up in trickles from about 7.30 am for the exercise, ballot materials only began to arrive from about 10.30 am in most of the centres visited.
At Ugba Primary School in Umuahia North Local Government Area (LGA), voters expressed disappointment that as at 10.30 am, INEC officials and adhoc staff were yet to arrive at the poling centre with materials for the exercise
At Umuokeyi Units 12 and 13, voters and party agents, started arriving at the centre as early as 7.50 am but INEC officials and adhoc staff were not seen to begin the election until about 11.15 am.
Also at polling unit 7 on Library Avenue and unit 33 at the Post Office both in Umuahia, election materials as well as INEC officials and voters were yet to arrive as at 8.40am.
The situation was the same in Olokoro in Umuahia South LGA, Isuikwuato, Ukwa East and West, Aba North and South LGAs, where voters, who reportedly turned out early in the morning, waited patiently for the arrival of election materials and INEC officials up until 11 am.
At Onuaku Primary School Polling Centre in Isuikwuato LGA, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Uche Ogah, complained that materials were yet to arrive at the place as at 10. 30 am.
Ogah expressed the need for INEC to extend the time for the conclusion of voting beyond 2pm “in order to enable voters to exercise their franchise. ”
At Item Ward C, polling unit 003, election materials arrived at about 11.45 am and voting commenced at about 12.23 pm.

Chief Cosmos Ndukwe, the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, decried the delay in the distribution of election materials to the area.

Ndukwe, who voted at Item polling unit 004, said that the late arrival of materials at the centre would disenfranchise many eligible voters,  if INEC failed to extend the time for voting.
There was visible presence of party agents but few security operatives at the polling centres visited.
Heavily armed military personnel also mounted checkpoints at strategic points in Umuahia metropolis and major highways in the state to enforce movement restriction.
An INEC adhoc staff member at Umuahia North said that the delay in the distribution of materials was caused by logistics problems.
He said: “We slept in INEC office with the hope that the distribution of materials would be completed by 7:30am.
“But up until now we are yet to recieve our own materials and this is frustrating.
“I am hopeful that in no distant time we would leave here for our place of assignment for the election exercise.”

Also, late arrival of election materials at some  polling centres on Saturday, delayed the commencement of voting in some polling units of Maiduguri metropolis.

While voters arrived at  polling centres at early as 7:30 a.m., officials of INEC failed to show up with election materials.

At Adamu Shehu Daya polling center of Gwange Ward,  voters were seen standing in the sun and waiting for the arrival of the materials.

Most of the voters expressed disappointment over the late arrival of materials and officials at the polling units.

Malam Ali, one of the voters lamented commenced very late and that the INEC officials did not provide any neaningful explanation for the delay.

Fatima Musa, another voter,  who expressed the same feeling, said the delay was frustrating.

However, Marcy Illiya, a Presiding Officer, attributed the delay to lack of an accredited voters registration list, which she said was not given to her at the Borno INEC headquarters.

Illiya said “We have every working materials except for the list of the register voters. Our Supervisor has gone to the INEC to bring the materials,” she had said.

At another polling unit (PU 042),  Malam Bamus Garba, a voter said, Card Readers had failed to respond to voters’cards.

At PU 007 of Isa Marghi ward in Gwange, Bukar Abacha, a voter, said INEC officials were yet to provide card readers.

Abacha lamented that people had been standing in the sun but the INEC did not provide any explanation for the delay.

Reacting, Nikha Lakumna, The INEC Head of Voter Education and Publicity, attributed the delay to negligence on the part of the Presiding Officers.

Lakumna said that INEC officials ought to have checked and confirmed the readiness of all materials, before leaving to for their respective polling units.

They all underwent training, so they are aware of all this things. You cannot go to any polling unit without the list of accredited voters,” he fumed.

In Lagos State, voting was delayed in Elizabeth Fowler School at ward 014, ward G2, Adeniran Ogunsanya units, Surulere Local Government Area, due to the late arrival of election materials.

There was a significant turnout of voters in spite of the delay in the arrival of election materials.

A cleric, Biodun Adeyanju, who resides in the area, expressed disappointment on the late arrival of INEC officials and election materials.

He, however, attributed the delay to humans error, which should be pardoned.

In life, we are bound to make mistakes. I hope every voter will be given the opportunity to exercise his or her civic right,’’ he said.

Adeyanju, who was optimistic on the success of the exercise, noted that the process appeared free and fair.

An octogenarian, and one of the oldest residents in the community, Mrs Shade Edun, said she was excited coming out to exercise her civic right.

I have to come out to exercise my civil right because many Nigerians are suffering and we want a change, proper change not mouth change.

INEC did not come in time, as it was advertised in the media, which will definitely delay the voting process.

My expectation after the election is to see better changes,” she said.

A 19-year-old first time voter, Enioluwa Ademidun, expressed excitement on the opportunity of exercising her civic duty.

The late arrival of the officials was not encouraging. We were told they would arrive by 8 a.m., but we had to wait for about two hours before they arrived.





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