A political think-tank under the aegis of the Centre for Democracy and Development on Saturday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to extend the voting period for eligible voters to cast their ballot.
The organisation said that though its observers’ data showed the availability of one Bimodal Voter Accreditation System device in 98.8 per cent of polling units, there were reports of glitches during the accreditation process which delayed voting in places such as Borno State.
The chairman, CDD Election Analysis Centre, Prof Adele Jinadu, made the recommendation in his preliminary statement on the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The preliminary statement which provided an overview of the CDD-EAC findings on the conduct of the elections based on observer data received and analysed as at 1pm, dwelt on two of the five ‘I’s that the EAC identified in its launch report: insecurity and institutions.
Jinadu said, “There have been some reports of violence and voter suppression in some parts of the country. We have asked our observers in the field to gather more information about the issues. On the whole, we commend Nigerians on their participation and peaceful conduct so far, though we note growing reports of voters frustrated by the speed of the voting process.
“We commend Nigerians on their determination to vote and encourage them to remain patient as they cast their ballot and to prevent people who want to try and disrupt the process.
“Where voting has started late or where the process has yet started, we encourage INEC to extend the voting period to enable all who want to do so to cast their ballot. We urge the security agencies to ensure that they remain neutral in their election day activities and actions. We commend INEC on their continued responsive communication with voters and all key stakeholders.
“Our observer data indicated late arrival of poll officials to their respective polling units across the country on election day. Across the country almost 50 per cent of INEC poll officials arrived on time for the commencement of the process. However, the South-East and South-South recorded the lowest percentage of poll officials arriving on time.
“In the South-East, only 10 per cent of poll officials arrived at their respective polling units on time and in the South-South it was 27 per cent. In the North-East, 42 per cent of poll officials got to their polling units on time whilst in the North-West, North- Central and South-West the figure was over 50 per cent. However, Lagos, the state with the highest number of registered voters recorded just 18 per cent in terms of timely arrival of INEC officials. The average opening time across the country was 9:25am; that is a clear one hour after polling was scheduled to start. “
“On average, CDD-EAC observation showed INEC officials arrived for set up and commencement of the process between 9:30am and 10:30am in the polling units observed. In the South-East, the average time for opening of polls was 10:56am; CDD-EAC observers have also been reporting several instances of polls not opening, even at 12:30pm. In several cases, observer findings reported security officials arriving at the polling stations, while INEC officials had not arrived to open the polls.”