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Mixed Reactions Trail INEC Mock Election in Ebonyi
By Sampson Eze
The mock election organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to test run the use of card readers in the forthcoming general elections in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, South East Nigeria was marred by failure of the machine to authenticate some of the voters in many centres visited by News24 Nigeria.
The prospective voters who turned out in their numbers for the exercise as early as 10 am long before the arrival of the voting materials went through the process patiently as they were guided by INEC Officials at the various polling units.
At Nkaliki Echara Unuhu Primary School I, which had many of the polling units, Mrs Ngozi Nwofoke who was among the accredited voters expressed frustration at the failure of the machine to recognize her Permanent Voter card and the time wasted in the process.
“When I was accredited, they saw my name and picture on the register but on thumb printing, I tried two thumbs and even washed my hand cleaned it with cotton wool but the machine did not recognize it. In the process, I am sure one person could spend over one hour trying to get verification and authentication”, She lamented.
Another voter, Christian okechukwu expressed similar frustration, “The verification was through but authentication failed, so we are confused. INEC should find a solution to this development if we must use the card reader.”
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lawrence Azubuike who monitored the exercise told newsmen that the commission would access the exercise duly.
”The average authentication has been very poor; it did not go on as smoothly as we expected in many of the polling units. Cursory observation will give us details from the field officers when they fill their incident reports on challenges and success recorded in their units.” He stated.
He however assured that the problems noted in the exercise would be resolved before the general elections.
The exercise is conducted in 225 polling units and 358 voting points across 12 States of the Federation, two States drawn from all geo political zones to further assure Nigerians of the reliability of the card reader.
The states the exercise is to be carried out are Ekiti, Lagos, Anambra, Ebonyi, Delta and Rivers. Others include Kano, Kebbi, Bauchi, Taraba, Niger and Nasarawa.
The Mock election was coming on the heels of apprehension in many quarters on the efficiency of the card reading machines for the exercise.