The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given an executive order that the voting time in Anambra governorship election has been extended to 4pm over the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in some polling units. Anambra state electoral commissioner, Nwachukwu Orji confirmed the malfunctioning of BVAS after the APGA guber candidate Charles Soludo lamented on the malfunctioning of the equipment, which he describes as total failure.
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The commission said the extension of voting time only applies to areas where polling units were late to open after the the official commencement period of 8:30am. INEC also called for patience of Anambra voters, assuring the electorate that no voter will be disenfranchised and all votes will count. In an official statement by the commission;
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the period for opening and closing of poll from 8.30am to 4.00pm. This revised closing time applies to areas where Polling Units opened after the commencement period of 8.30am. In line with existing regulations and guidelines of the Commission, any intending voter who is on the queue by 4.00 pm shall be allowed to vote. All Polling Unit staff must comply with this directive,”
“The extension of time arose out of several field reports that voters have had problems with accreditation. The Commission is currently investigating the reason the accreditation devices, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), have worked perfectly in some polling units, but not in others.
“In some of the cases, it would seem that this resulted from software glitches. Our technicians have already built an update to the devise software to prevent further challenges. The update is currently being installed in the concerned BVAS and we request voters, candidates and agents to be patient and allow our technical staff to solve the problem.”
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“It must be noted that on account of security concerns, some of the transporters that were mobilized and collected 50% of their sign on fee backed out at the last moment, leaving some of our ad-hoc staff stranded. Also, some of the trained ad-hoc staff backed out at the last moment,”
“The Commission is on top of these challenges and extant regulations and guidelines will be applied on a case by case bases. Consequently, we are harvesting areas where voting will realistically no longer take place today, including places where substantial disruption has occurred, to enable a possible recommencement of voting at another time, in line with extant laws and the regulations and guidelines of the Commission.
“We appeal to all voters, candidates, stakeholders communities and political parties to remain calm and law abiding. We assure you that the Commission is determined to a make all votes count.”