Prospective voters in Lagos who turned up for the mock accreditation using the card readers device expressed satisfaction with the level of efficiency of the novel technology. They unanimously gave the electoral body kudos for bring innovation to the nation’s electoral process.
The Street Journal gathered at the trial centres in Lagos that it took an average of 11 seconds to complete the process of accrediting a voter through the new device.
It was gathered that it took the between 4 seconds and 11 minutes to undergo the process at one of the centres in Lagos. Representatives of the two major party, People’s Democratic Party PDP and All Progressive Congress APC expressed satisfaction with the level of efficiency of the card readers deployed for the mock exercise.
A PDP representative however, noted that the Card Reader did not have an alert mechanism in case a voter failed to meet the accreditation prerequisites due to use of some other person’s card. He said only the Accreditation officials would be privy to the development, a situation he noted was susceptible to manipulation by the INEC officials.
An APC representative at the centre however, punctured the argument, stressing that to guide against such developments, each party was required by law to have an agent at each polling unit to ensure that his or her party was not short-changed.
One of the Resident Electoral Commissioners who monitored the exercise in Lagos, Segun Agbaje was also satisfied with the performance of the machines, stressing that given the submissions of representatives of the two major parties that monitored the trial, INEX deserves kudos for a job well done.
He pointed out that the outcome of the card readers’ trial today was an indication of the the preparedness of INEC to conduct credible elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015. It was however, gathered that some voters’ finger print did not match the card reader’s record while other details were correct. It was gathered that they were told by the INEC officials that this was not enough to disqualify them from voting on election days once they were able to complete some forms to be taken to the electoral body’s headquarters in Abuja.
Potential voters in the forthcoming general elections, who turned up for the card reader trial at the Umuezei Ward in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State on Saturday also expressed their delight at the efficiency of the device deployed in the polling units.
The Independent National Electoral Commission and voters alike reported to the 14 voting units promptly at the 8am scheduled beginning of the exercise and went into business soon afterwards.
The units were located at Asagba Primary School and Niger Mixed Secondary School, all in Asaba. Six of the units were located at Niger Mixed Secondary School while the rest were at Asagba Primary School.
The ward has a total voting population of 13,905. But only 10,865 voters had collected their PVC, according to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Anidi Ikowak.
Most of the verification went on smoothly, taking just a few seconds for the polling officials to interview and test each voter with the card reader.
But there were a few cases where the process caused anxious moments as it took several trials before the card reader could verify the few voters.
One of such incidents occurred at Polling Unit 12, where an elderly woman, Mrs. Franca Oba, waited for almost 30 minutes before her fingerprint was accepted by the card reader.
Unlike other voters that just came and had their fingerprints verified within a few seconds, Oba had to avail all her 10 fingers for verification for seven times before the reader verified hers.
In her reaction, Oba said, “The card reader is good. But if every voter has to go through this, then it means people will not leave the polling unit before midnight.”
There was an overwhelming presence of policemen, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Mr. Zaki Ahmed.
The INEC team to the area was led by a National Commissioner, Dr. Ishmael Igbani.
The team also had the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Edo State, Mr. Mike Igini, and the Delta REC, Mr. Anidi Ikowak.