Inadequate manpower, data capturing machines mar voter registration in Anambra
• Ex-ANSIEC boss calls for more devices
The ongoing voter registration exercise being conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Anambra State is yet to gain full momentum due to lack of manpower and inadequate capturing machines in most registration centers.
When The Guardian visited several centres yesterday, most eligible voters complained that they were yet to register, while INEC officials were idling away, saying they were waiting for voters to come.
At Awka South local government council, about 1000 eligible voters were being attended to by a handful of INEC officials with only one Data Capturing Machine.
Consequently, only about 60 persons were successfully registered at the weekend.
Potential voters complained that they spend several hours after their arrival without a corresponding attention by INEC staff, even as they expressed concerns at the level of frustration they were being subjected to in the registration process.
At the Awka South council area, Onyeka Udochukwu wondered why a big local government area would have only one center, expressing fears that many eligible voters would be dis-enfrachised if more centers were not created.
The experience was not different in Dunukofia local government area, where many prospective voters were seen queuing up and struggling to secure their voters’ card.
At Idemili North council, Mrs. Joy Udeh lamented the situation and urged INEC to correct the anomaly even as she alleged of attempts to deny Anambra voters the opportunity to vote in future elections.
A trader at Onitsha Main Market, Mrs. Ngozi Nweke recalled that Governor Willie Obiano declared a two-day public holiday last week to enable public servants and residents in the state who have not registered to secure their voters’ card, wondering what was the essence of such holiday if most eligible voters could not register.
Meanwhile, the former Acting Chairman of INEC, Sylvester Okonkwo has called on the commission to provide more data capturing machines in the 326 wards in the state to ensure that no eligible voter was disenfranchised in future elections in the country.
Okonkwo who spoke to The Guardian after monitoring the exercise in the four local government areas of Njikoka, Dunukofia, Idemili North and Awka South local government areas yesterday, expressed dismay that the data capturing machines allocated to each of the local government areas were inadequate considering the large turn out of eligible voters.