Off- cycle election: Transportation not available in 26 percent RACs visited – Situation Room

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) has observed that in Kogi state, transportation was not available in 26 percent of the Registration Area Centres (RACs) visited.

The Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Y.Z Ya’u while briefing newsmen in Abuja, said materials were not properly dispatched in 17 per cent of the RACs visited and the required number of election officials were not available in 15 per cent of the RACs visited.

He deployment of election officials and materials progressed without major hitches in the three states, except for Bayelsa where a boat carrying election personnel and materials for Registration Area 17 (Koluama) in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (LGA) capsized.

He said the deployment of election officials and materials was also affected by the abduction of the Supervisory Presiding Officer assigned to Registration Area 06 (Ossioma) in Sagbama LGA of Bayelsa state.

According to him, “Situation Room urges INEC to take measures to ensure that these incidents will not result in the disenfranchisement of the registered voters in these areas.

“The Situation Room observed a variance in arrival of election officials and opening of polls in the three States. Reports from Situation Room field observers indicate that a majority (86 per cent) of the polling units observed in Kogi State opened by the official opening time of 8:30 am, while in Bayelsa State 66 per cent of the polling units visited opened by 8.30 am.

“In Imo State, opening of polls was delayed in many polling units as reports from our observers show that only 29 per cent of the polling units visited opened at 8:30 am.”

On the Bi-Modal Verification Accreditation System (BVAS), he said it functioned optimally in most polling units across the three states.

“However, there were reports of malfunctioning of the machines. In Bayelsa state, there were incidents of malfunction in PU 003, RA 11, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area (LGA).

“Similarly, in PU 008, RA 03, Ekeremor LGA, BVAS reportedly rejected fingerprints and facial recognition of some eligible voters. In Kogi State, a number of eligible voters were disenfranchised following the incidents of BVAS malfunctioning in PU 003, Ukwaja Ward, Idah LGA.

“Situation Room notes that security personnel were present at most of the polling units visited. In Kogi and Bayelsa States, observers sighted security personnel in 92 per cent of polling units visited and 86 per cent of polling units, respectively.

“In Imo State, security personnel were sighted in 47 per cent of the polling units visited. The security personnel deployed for the elections were relatively civil in their conduct within and outside polling units. However, some security personnel were observed standing-by while vote buying was going on.

“Situation Room received reports of widespread vote buying across the three States. Some of the specific instances include sale of votes for amounts ranging from as low as N1,000 to N30,000 at various locations.

“In Bayelsa State, for instance, voters were seen showing their thumb printed ballot papers in exchange for rice, drinks and money in PU 015, RA11, Southern Ijaw LGA,” he said.

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