While we commend INEC and all stakeholders for their painstaking efforts in the preparation for the General election, it is regrettable that reports from some polling units show late arrival of INEC officials and materials in many parts of the country; NBA election observers have reported these incidents in nearly 25% of the Polling units covered. In many instances, voters turned out up to 3 hours or more before the officials and materials arrived. As at 11am there are reports of INEC officials trying to locate their assigned polling stations. Our observers reported that apart from FCT, Ekiti, Lagos and Kaduna states, voting materials arrived more than one hour late in 75% of polling stations. However as at noon, INEC Officials and Voting materials were yet to arrive any of the polling units in Warri South LGA of Delta State. Incidentally, our observers have also reported on some polling stations in the FCT, where INEC officials and materials arrived on time with no voter present. This situation remained so until noon and there are no indications why this was so.
I call on INEC to ensure that all the polling units where polling materials have not been delivered, to make speedy efforts to do so in order to ensure that voters in those areas are not disenfranchised.
I have also received reports of challenges with the use of BVAS, particularly in some parts of Rivers, Lagos, Plateau, Kano and Kaduna States, including some part of FCT. I make specific reference to polling unit number 003 in Asokoro District, opposite the ECOWAS Secretariat. The NBA calls on INEC to immediately mobilise back-up arrangement to deploy functioning BVAS machine, particularly because of the impact of non-functioning or malfunctioning BVAS devices on the election process.
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However, we have reports that voting is going on well in many parts of the country. Our NBA election observers have reported that in about 78% of the polling stations across the country, accreditation and voting have commenced in orderly and peaceful manner. We also observed almost 100% compliance with the order on the restriction of movement across the country; the turn-out of voters in almost all polling units visited by our observers have been very impressive, indicating popular commitment of Nigerians to exercise their franchise.
I encourage all stakeholders to strive to ensure fair, free, credible, inclusive and verifiable election. NBA and its members across the country will continue to support INEC and all other stakeholders in the electoral process. I commend all NBA observers across and encourage them to continue to report the progress of voting or related incidents from their locations across the country.
I also appeal to Nigerians in all polling units where materials either arrived late or are yet to be delivered to exercise patience; no one will be disenfranchised, we have made sacrifices to come this far. Let us persevere, be calm until materials are made available by INEC. INEC appreciates that where materials arrive late or are yet to be delivered, provisions would be made to afford every eligible voters the opportunity to exercise their rights in the election.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau OON, SAN
President, Nigerian Bar Association