Late arrival of materials, faulty card readers mar polls in Lagos


Late arrival of voting materials, personnel and malfunctioned card readers characterised yesterday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in some parts of Lagos State.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) personnel and voting materials did not arrive some polling units until around 10:00a.m, two hours after the official commencement of the polls.There was mild drama in some areas, especially polling units situated around INEC Lagos office, Sabo, Yaba, as card readers rejected some Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

As at 9:00am, voters at Abule-Egba, Agege, Abbattoir, Oko-Oba, to Ikeja in Lagos were delayed as INEC personnel arrived the polling units late. At the Oko-Oba abattoir polling centre, election officials came at 9:10am, when voters were already waiting.

However, no personnel was at a polling unit close to Isoko Police Station, a trekkable distance to the Guinness Bus Stop. At Ward D1, Ajibulu Polling Unit, Mafoluku-Oshodi and its suburb, as at 9:00a.m., there were no personnel.In Ejigbo, voters ’expectation was almost dashed in most polling stations, as there were no signs that the polls would hold as at 11:00am.

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At polling stations 062, 071, 073 and others around Dorcas Area in Ejigbo, voters were seen in small groups discussing. According to a party agent, the Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo was informed of the lateness, and he called INEC office to notify them.A commercial bus driver hired to deliver electoral materials to polling stations told The Guardian that the lateness was from INEC office.

At Polling Unit 09, a voter, Mr. Funsho said he couldn’t exercise his franchise as the card reader rejected his PVC thrice.He lamented that he had seen his name on the card registration list, which signified that he was to cast his ballot at the unit.An official, however, pleaded with him that he would not be able to vote due to non-recognition of his PVC.

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The same story played out at Units 12 and 13 in Yaba. Voters complained of slow and faulty card readers.At Unit 5, Marine Bridge, INEC ad hoc staff disclosed that the election started at about 9:30 a.m., due to faulty card readers.At some polling stations around Governor Road, Ikotun, electoral officers also had issues with the card readers. Another challenge was shortage of ink pad, which made two adjoining polling stations to share one.

Also, some voters in Ikotun Local Council complained of not seeing their names on the voter list, and were directed to polling stations different from where they voted the last time. Meanwhile, the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, has urged Nigerians to have strong faith in INEC to ensure a credible, free and fair election. Adebule, who spoke at unit 029 Devince, Iba, after casting her vote, enjoined the electorate to report any shortcoming of the ad hoc workers to INEC supervisors, instead of taking laws into their hands.

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