A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Bassey Eyo Ndem, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for deploying the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, machines for use during the just concluded by-elections.
Ndem, a renowned architect and traditional leader, described the use of the BVAS machine as an impressive and updated method of making the electoral process simple, fast and credible.
Ndem, who voted at the just concluded Akpabuyo State Constituency by-elections in his Esuk Idebe home town, said, “I was at my polling unit, Esuk Idebe, as early as 7 o’clock.
The materials and INEC personnel arrived very early and at 8.
30 am, voting and accreditation started.
“It has been a pleasant surprise for me because my voting process took three and a half minutes.
From the time I got to the polling unit to when I got accredited, they instructed me on which side of the ballot paper to thump print took just 3 minutes.
“The INEC staff has been well trained and is doing their job.
People have been here since morning, and if they were frustrated, you would hear it in their voices, and if they were angry because of technical hitches, you would also hear it.
The architect par excellence urged INEC to locate its voter registration centres closer to inhabitants of remote and hard to reach communities, noting that some villagers were disenfranchised because of their inability to exchange their temporary voter’s cards for the Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs.
He said, “in every new technology, there has to be a cutting-in process.
We have had cases here of people who had the new cards and were not eligible and those who have lost their cards and found it difficult to leave the villages to the designated INEC offices for a replacement.
“These believed that since they saw their names and faces on the register, the fact that their cards were misplaced does not really matter.
So, they felt disenfranchised, either through their own negligence or carelessness, that they could not vote,” Ndem said.
He urged the commission to intensify voter education, especially to remote rural communities, to have that sense of belonging and be assisted to participate fully in the general election.
Ndem suggested, “I think voter education needs to be ramped up.
If it is possible for INEC to carry out sensitization at polling units in villages rather than hold town halls; I mean decentralize sensitization to the different polling units, taking voter education to the grassroots, I think that would make a greater impact on the electorates and results to higher valid votes at the next election, and even greater voter participation.
He congratulated his party, the APC, for the feat achieved at the Ogoja-Yala Federal Constituency by-election and the governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, for moving the party to the next level.
Cross River By-Election: APC Chieftain lauds deployment of BVAs machine