As Nigerians vote today, there reports of underage voting in parts of northern Nigeria, even as the card readers deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) malfunctions in parts of the country.
Some citizens on the social media accuse the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) of coercing electoral officials to accredit visibly under-aged registered voters to cast ballot.
The results of the ongoing general elections is expected to be announced in 48 hours.
President/Executive Director of Citizens Rights and Empowerment Advocacy Initiative (CREMA Initiative), Comrade Rexkennedy Saltlove, in a situation report response to our newsroom confirmed that card readers were failing.
He said “Card readers were apparently failing often at a polling booth near an Accenture staff’s home and the guy couldn’t understand why.”
Continuing he added, “he approached the INEC woman, inspected the reader, only to discover that the protective film on the lense of the reader had not been removed.
“After a protracted argument, he convinced the woman to remove it. the reader not only read previously rejected cards, it read with faster response time”, Saltlove said.
In Adamawa State, mild drama ensued at one of the designated voting centres for Internally Displaced Persons, Modibbo Adama University of Technology in Yola, as the card reader failed to capture the biometrics of the State Governor, Bala Ngillari.
“I am disappointed in the process, since the card reader can reject the number one citizen of the state, I am so concerned about our people who are IDPs.
“They trekked kilometres only to be disenfranchised by card reader. This is snail-speed process,” Ngillari told journalists shortly after.
On his part, the President of the Senate, David Mark, said that the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday was largely peaceful in his constituency.
In a statement, Mr. Mark however expressed concern over the reported cases of faulty card readers.
Mr. Mark said after he cast his vote in Otukpo Ward 1, Otukpo, Benue State on Saturday that the exercise was “generally peaceful and organized. The voters queued and complied with the rules”.
He expressed worry over the malfunctioning of the card readers in some polling units and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to salvage the situation.