By Magnus Effiong
Allocating only one registration machine, Voters Enrolment Device (VED), to Akpabuyo local government area with ten political wards for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) is threatening to disenfranchise thousands of voters, the Council Chairman, Rt. Hon Emmanuel Offiong Bassey has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Recall that while introducing the new registration machine, INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had said with the new VED, every unregistered Nigerian would be captured and that the new device would eliminate acts of fraud thereby making Nigeria’s electoral process more efficient.
But Rt Hon Bassey, during a visit to the INEC office in Ikot Nakanda, headquarters of the local government area, weekend, said the number of VED sent was grossly incapable of capturing thousands of voters in the area, and therefore appealed to the electoral umpire to send additional registration machines to the council area.
He said “my visit to INEC office has afforded me the opportunity to see things for myself. I am appealing to the INEC to send additional machines to Akpabuyo so as to get more people registered, especially now that we are entering election period, so that no legible voter would be disenfranchised.”
He pleaded with the people of the local government area, who came out in their numbers to register, to be patient, saying the Council was working to ensure more registration machines were sent to the area for effective exercise.
In an interview, a voter, Affiong Okon, said she came from a distance of about 3km for the voters registration exercise only to meet a large crowd.
“We are all here to register but unfortunately, there is only one registration machine to capture all of us. You can see the crowd for yourself. This is not fair at all. Everybody is anxious and from what I have seen, I may not be captured today. That means, I have to come back another day, and how that would be possible for me is what I cannot tell,” she lamented.
However, in a chat, the assistant electoral officer for Akpabuyo, Mr Stanley Ogwa, said he was optimistic that additional registration machines would be sent to make the exercise less cumbersome so that at the end nobody would be disenfranchised.