Anambra governorship election has continued with the major candidates and voters complaining about the slowness or breakdown of the Bimodal Verification Accreditation (BVAs) system deployed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for verification of voters.
The BVAS system is being deployed for the first for accreditation of voters in a major election.
However, some staff of INEC deployed for the election are experiencing technical challenges in the use of the BVAs device to capture voters in some parts of the state. The device is also slow, with about 20 minutes taken to capture a voter in some instances.
“This BVAs technology is a complete failure, and by almost 1.p.m. in the day, voting is yet to start in most of the polling units in the state, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) said while expressing shock over the breakdown of the BVA system his polling Unit 002 ,Ward 13, at Ofiyi Square, Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area.
Soludo who arrived to vote at about 12:15p.m. but could not be captured by the BVAs system said information available to him indicated that the BVAs system is also not living up to expectations in most places.
“And in places where it is working, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to capture a voter. With this crowd, even if the device starts working now, it is not possible to finish up within record time.
“It raises fundamental questions because I’m quite shock to hear that this technology breakdown is happening all over the state.
“May be we will still be optimistic that the challenge will be fixed. I have been here for over 20 minutes, yet no way”
But Soludo was also worried about inadequacy of INEC staff and security personnel in some polling units.
“For example in Uke, there is a ward with 17 polling units but only five have INEC officials. The other 12, no officials.
“There is also the security issue, here in my polling unit, no single policeman.
” In Ihialla, I got a report that materials up until now have not left the local government. It is a very unfortunate situation. INEC should do the needful and make this process successful, ” he said.
Soludo, while urging INEC to fix the technology breakdown, said he was optimistic that the challenge would be addressed soon.
“The INEC chairman assured us that things will get better. So we are hoping the machines start working soon.
The APC candidate commended voters for turning out in large numbers to cast their votes.
“Before 8.a.m., people have turned out in large numbers, even before the arrival of INEC officials, it is very commendable
“I urge our supporters to exercise patience and ensure they cast their votes whenever the machine starts working.
Also, Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the candidate of of the Peoples Democratic Party lamented that he to use his hotspot to connect the BVAs system before it worked.
He spoke after he cast his vote alongside Orjiugo, his wife, at PU 010, Social Centre square, Amaesi Ward in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra at about 11am.
Ozigbo, who voted after about 20 minutes of accreditation delay, expressed worry that all willing electorate might not be able to vote if the 2:30 pm deadline set by the INEC was to be adhered to.
He said the deadline should be relaxed to allow all eligible voters cast their ballot if the problem was not their making.
He said there were places where election materials and officials had not arrived at about the time he voted.
“I want to thank God for the clement weather, a moment ago, I and my wife fulfilled our own part of the obligation which is to cast our votes
“Thank God it it peaceful and we have been able to vote, but it is a mixed feeling, I am a bit worried by the time it took us to vote, verification by Bivas device was slow.
”We had to use hotspot before it worked, while I commend INEC for the technology, I want to say that it must be improved.
“So, I call for extension of time to ensure every eligible voter votes if it is not their cause, I am expecting a minimum of one million people to vote out of about 2.5 million registered voters.
The PDP candidate said INEC took the allegation of writing of results and subversion of the process seriously while calling on other political parties and entire Anambra citizens to guard against electoral maleficence.
He said the election was widely participatory as a result of the relaxation of the IPOB sit@home which posed a major threat to the election.
“Some people are desperate about this election and in that desperation, they can do anything, they want to write results and push it in.
“I am calling on my agents and indeed agents of other political parties to guard against that and ensure that only what transpired at the polling units are recorded,” he said. (NAN)