By Babatunde Ogunrinde
Lagos – Election officials handling the ongoing local government polls in Lagos State have abandoned the card-readers and resorted to manual accreditation of voters, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Our correspondents covering the exercise across the state report that most card-readers deployed to the polling units did not function, a situation that created apprehension among voters, security personnel and election officials.
At the Okota-Isolo/Oshodi Local Council Development Area, the card reading machine kept fluctuating, forcing the election officials to abandon it.
At polling unit 0-29, Ward F-4, Adekunle-Araba Junction, some voters were uncomfortable with the non-usage of the card readers and protested, but election officials explained that they resorted to manual voting because the readers were not functioning.
An electoral official, who craved anonymity, told NAN that he resorted to the manual voting “to do my job”.
“I do not have the authority to speak on the issue, but I couldn’t have left the job undone just because of the card-readers when I had other options.
“The card readers have been without network since morning, so I was left with no option. I did not want to waste the time of my voters,” she said.
According to her, every voter is required to use the manual process, especially those that were properly accredited and registered in the ward.
“Once the name of such voter is verified from the records, he or she puts down his complete details in the form provided, and is allowed to cast his vote,” she said.
Some party agents at the polling unit told NAN that they had objected to the manual voting but had to accept the fact that it was the last option.
A voter, Mr Femi Olawuyi, said that he had also been at the polling unit since morning and had cast his vote already without the card readers.
“I think we are even better off without the card readers.
“We had to resort to the manual voting; our records are valid, so we didn’t have any problems casting our votes,” he said.
Mr Rasheed Ajose, a politician in Onota-Isolo, said the electoral process was smooth and peaceful.
According to him, the grassroots process of politics has enabled all stakeholders to do their home work in good time and with right resources available to them.
“Personally, I’m proud of the level of election process and we hope we can continue this way, though I am not happy that the turnout has not been massive.
“Some politicians easily concede defeat because of the dominance of a particular party in that state, but so far it has been a wonderful election day,” Ajose said.
A member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Kingsley Iruonagbe, similarly expressed disappointment over the low turnout blaming it on alleged intimidation of the electorate.
According to him, “the ruling party in the area has the reputation of intimidating voters; this is why they have not turned out well.
“The rulling party is domineering. Its members intimidate the electorate. This is why we have low turnouts, but the process has been a peaceful one,” he said. (NAN)