The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has attributed the arbitrary substitution of ad-hoc staff by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of the reasons for the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine in many polling units (PUs) in today’s FCT area council elections.
Executive Director, CTA, Faith Nwadishi, said this on Saturday while presenting a preliminary report of the centre.
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She also criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for substituting some trained ad-hoc staff on election day before deployment to the PUs.
“This, partly contributed to the malfunctioning of the BVAS during the FCT area council election held on Saturday across the six districts,” Nwadishi said.
She, however, said that INEC officials and materials in most places arrived late at about 8:50am, while there were some exceptions where officials and materials arrived early between 7:45 and 8:30a.m.
On the malfunctioning of BVAS, Nwadishi said, “The significant factor that we need to understand is that the ad-hoc staff that were handling it are the number one culprit in the malfunctioning of the BVAS.
“What we are advocating for is to do more training for the ad-hoc staff and to ensure that the electoral officers don’t change trained ad-hoc staff on election day. When you change somebody who has been trained for somebody who has not been trained, we will continue to have this kind of problem.
“Our observers also reported cases of slow BVAS functioning and malfunctioning which in turn made the voting process very slow and kept many waiting. This led to an agitated and tensed atmosphere in some instance.”
She also said that security agents arrived on time in many of the polling units, while the security personnel were professional in their conducts.
She said it was observed that while there were low voters’ turnout in the city centre, there were impressive voters’ turnout in the outskirts.
Nwadishi said that vote buying was observed across board, and that while political parties were busy buying votes, citizens were also willing to sell for pittance.
She lamented that votes were sold between N500 and N2000 by electorates.
She said, “On the conduct of INEC officials CTA observed the cooperation of the INEC observers in ordination and maintaining peace but in some areas because of the massive voters turn out, they were overwhelmed and agitated but still maintained their calm for a peaceful election atmosphere.
“We commend the ad-hoc staff for the preferences given to nursing mothers, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities. There were complaints of congestions at polling units despite the creation of more polling units by INEC.