The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended voting in the Anambra State governorship election till tomorrow (Sunday).
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, announced the development at the INEC office, Awka on Saturday.
According to the Commission, this is to enable those who were not able to vote on Saturday due to the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BIVAS) machine to do so.
Ripples Nigeria reported that the BIVAS machine failed to work in many polling units in the state.
Addressing reporters on Saturday at the INEC office in Awka, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, said the closing of voting had been shifted from 2.30 pm to 4. pm on Saturday, after which the exercise will continue on Sunday in units where voting could not hold.
He said the machines suffered software hitches, adding that the commission’s engineers were working to rectify the problem.
Also, he disclosed that materials did not arrive on time at some polling units because some drivers and ad-hoc staff failed to turn up.
Orji said: “It must be noted that on account of security concerns, some of the transporters that were mobilised and collected 50 per cent of their sign-on fee backed out at the last moment, leaving some of our ad-hoc staff stranded.
“Also, some of the trained ad-hoc staff backed out at the last moment. The Commission is on top of these challenges and extant regulations and guidelines will be applied on a case by case basis.
“INEC has extended the period for opening and closing of the poll from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm. This revised closing time applies to areas where polling units opened after the commencement period of 8.30 am.
“In line with existing regulations and guidelines of the Commission, any intending voter who is on the queue by 4.00 pm shall be allowed to vote. All Polling Unit staff must comply with this directive. The extension of time arose out of several field reports that voters have had problems with accreditation.”
Meanwhile, he said the Commission was already investigating the reason the accreditation devices, and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) worked perfectly in some Polling Units, but not in others.
“Our technicians have already built an update to the devise software to prevent further challenges. The update is currently being installed in the concerned BVAS and we request voters, candidates and agents to be patient and allow our technical staff to solve the problem.
“The Commission wishes to reiterate that in cases of sustained malfunction of the BVAS, the Presiding Officer must inform the voters and polling agents that accreditation and voting for the affected Polling Unit shall continue tomorrow or at another time determined by the Commission.
“With this extension of time and the recommencement of accreditation where the BVAS consistently malfunctions, the Commission assures that no voter will be disenfranchised.
“We appeal to all voters, candidates, stakeholders communities and political parties to remain calm and law-abiding. We assure you that the Commission is determined to make all votes count,” Orji added.
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