An Enugu based NGO, African Network For Peace And Good Governance (ANPG), has tasks the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure 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, and made available made to newsmen in Enugu on Friday.
Aneke noted that repeated reports of the late arrival of INEC officials and materials, malfunctioning of smart card readers, late accreditation had affected the previous elections there by disenfranchising some of the electorate.
He urged the election umpires to ensure that all eligible voters were not prevented from casting their ballots as a result of the challenges.
The director noted that since Nigeria’s returned to democracy in 1999, the country had conducted six general elections and in each of the polls, there had been reports of late arrival of INEC officials and voting materials.
He said in the 2015 general elections the polling process commenced at 8 a.m. and it entailed authentication of PVCs, fingerprints and verification in the voter register.
“But majority of the polling units commenced the process behind scheduled and some even at 10:30 a.m., two hours late,” he said.
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 begun at 10:30 a.m.
According to the group, late arrival of election officials, materials, accreditation, and voting had denied thousands of electorate the right to exercise their civic responsibility.
Aneke remembered that similar thing happened in the FCT Area Council elections held this year, adding that Dataphyte, another election observer, during its monitoring of the elections, reported that INEC’s punctuality was generally low.
According to him, the smart card reader does not performed to expectations due its failure in some areas since its introduction in 2015.
While commending INEC for the introduction of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), the director tasks the commission to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible polls.
Dataphyte is a non-political and non-profit organisation that promotes good governance, health, education and agriculture nationwide. (NAN)