Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted that it encountered challenges bothering on security and late arrival of electoral materials in the during the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections yesterday, making it to extend the duration of voting hours in the affected polling stations.
Speaking while updating newsmen on the fillers from the polling units, National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said that the commission achieved high percentage of early opening of polling stations except in few states like Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa among others.
“We deem it necessary to give you update of where we are in relation to the conduct of the Presidential Election. As most of you are aware, we did promise Nigerians that the polling units will be opened at 8:00a.m.
“What the commission has decided is that any of the states where polls open at 9 O’clock, there will be an extension of hours and it progresses that way. We are in touch with all the RECs, electoral officers in almost all the local governments in relation to some of the problems and challenges they have while polls could not open on time.
“Some of these challenges are security related, some of them are related to late arrival of some members of the Road Transport Workers, but all the states, all these challenges are being addressed presently. The second challenge we recorded relates to that of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs).
“Some of the places where we recorded challenges of malfunctioning of card readers, in all the places where we need to replace the Card Readers, we have directed the RECs and all the electoral officers to replace all the faulty Card Readers.
“In other places where there are few challenges in relation to the Card Readers verifying or authenticating, all the members of technical support staff that have been posted to the registration areas are already on ground and are addressing some of these issues and we are confident that as we progress before the close of polls that most of these issues would have been rectified.
“We also received reports that in some few states, the inability of people getting to their polling units on account of security issues, the chairman of INEC is in touch with the heads of the security agencies, who has been providing supports in relation to these election.
“In all the places where people experienced all the challenges, he has personally called the heads of the security agencies and some of these issues have been addressed.
So, we are on top of the situation and we are confident that as we progress in this particular election, most of the issues that arisen relating to this particular election will be addressed,” he said. Giving further breakdown of opening of polls between 8:00a.m and 12:00p.m, Okoye said: “It shows that while Ekiti, Katsina, Kebbi, Ondo and Osun states recorded 100 per cent, Niger State, recorded 99.35 per cent. Kano has the least record of poll opening with 0.18 per cent followed by Imo State with 0.98 per cent. As at 12noon there was no report from the Election Monitoring Support Centre in Abuja on the polls.
“Abia has 20 per cent, Akwa Ibom 64 per cent, Anambra 90, Bauchi 49.3, Bayesla 29, and Benue 91 per cent. Poll opening in the troubled Borno State is 35, likewise in Adamawa which recorded 34, Zamfara 41 and Yobe 69 per cents.
“Plateau has 40, Oyo 35, Kaduna 57, Cross River 93, Delta 32, Ebonyi 35.5, Edo 97, Enugu 61, FCT 73, Gombe 62, Jigawa 68, Kogi 91, Kwara 96, Lagos 64, Nasarawa 58, Ogun 74, Sokoto 33 and Taraba 69 per cents.”