Yiaga Africa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the voting hours in polling units where accreditation of voters started late.
Yiaga Africa said this at its Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Mid-day Situational Press Statement on Saturday’s Presidential Election jointly signed by Hussaini Abdu, Chairman, WTV Working Group and Samson Itodo, Executive Director.
Reading the document Abdu said Yiaga Africa’s WTV observation revealed critical challenges in the commencement of pollvranging from the late arrival of officials and delayed opening of poll due to the shortage of election materials in some polling units.
He said that the late arrival of polling unit officials was exacerbated by the late deployment of the polling officials and election materials from the Registration Areas Centres (RACs) on election morning.
“As of 1:00 p.m, the Yiaga Africa WTV Data Center has received 40 verified critical incident reports primarily concerning the late opening of poll,” he said.
“Polling Officials declined to deploy for the elections, In Ngor Okpala LGA in Imo State, Yiaga Africa WTV Observer reported a shortage of ad hoc staff due to poor remuneration and fear of attacks as most of the officials were corp members or students.
“The BVAS not authenticating the facial or fingerprint of voters,” he said.
Abdu said that the call for extension of voting time was necessary to ensure that all eligible voters exercised their franchise.
“INEC should issue clear and unambiguous communication on the extension of voting time to all polling officials and the public.
“INEC should investigate the reasons responsible for the late deployment of election materials and personnel including the late activation of the Registration Area Centers (RACs).
“Cases of breach of contractual obligations by transport workers should be met with sanctions.”
Abdu said that INEC should ensure timely response to issues raised at polling units such as malfunctioning of the BVAS, location of polling units.