By Aplefe Ojong/Archibong Jeremiah/Okwo Kerry/Elijah Ugani
The Presidential and National Assembly elections in Cross River State held across the state with reports of late arrival of materials and INEC officials as well as initial failure of the card reader.
Our reporters who were scattered across the state say the process started with anxious voters waiting for hours for electoral officials to arrive with materials and when they arrived, in most of the polling stations, the card readers did not work as expected.
The accreditation process commenced late in almost all the polling units in Calabar in particular and some other parts of the state, and some units had to wait until 11.00am to receive their materials.
In Obudu, the northern part of the state, the initial technical challenges with the card readers continued until after11.00am in many polling units and voters became disenchanted with the situation in several units.
It was the same thing in Mkpani, Yakurr Local Government Area of the state where the card readers refused to work in spite of the fact that accreditation actually commenced on time.
The Presiding Officer of Mkpani/Agoi Council Ward, Mr. Ekpo Nsa said that the problem was nationwide and that INEC may consider an alternative option, which is allowing all those whose names are in the voter’s register and have their PVCs to vote if the situation refuses to improve.
Materials for the Senatorial election were also not brought to Mkpani Ajere unit 017 of Mkpani/Agoi Council Ward as at midday and that is the unit where the former governor of the state, Chief Clement D. Ebri was expected to vote raising concerns that it will be embarrassing if the former governor of the state was disenfranchised.
At unit 23, Ward 12, Calabar South, the Presiding Officer 1, Mr.Tangban Obigban said that the card readers refused to accept the cards to take them to the user’s surface, in spite of the fact that the system turned on. “We have called the authorities concerned and they are sending technical persons to the place to help fix the situation and it is our hope that the machines will work and the people will exercise their franchise.”
The election in the entire Abu ward, Boki local government area were postponed till today Sunday due to absence of result sheets which led to dispute between the various parties.
Accreditation also did not start until about 11am in Ogoja and Yala local governments due to late arrival of materials and technical issues with the card readers.
In Okpoma in Yala Local Government Area, the INEC staff and ad hoc staff had to start with the accreditation of the aged and pregnant women who had stood for a very long time for them to be accredited.
There were reports of protests by voters in Ikom over the failure of the card readers but accreditation eventually got underway by midday in most locations.
In unit 9, Ward 9 where the PDP southern senatorial district candidate, Chief Gershom Bassey registered, the card reader still mal functioned and he had to be given incident form to enable him do accreditation. While commenting, he said that it was unfortunate that Nigerians have to pass through this type of ordeal, but however thanked INEC for having plan “B”.
Early results from units 004 and 005 in Ward one of Calabar Municipality indicates that in the presidential polls, President Jonathan leads with 466 votes, while the APC candidate, General Buhari had 25, UPP,4 votes, AD, 2 votes, CPP and ACPN one vote each while 7 invalid votes were recorded.
For the senatorial election, the LP candidate pulled 221 votes in the two polling units and closely followed by the PDP candidate, Chief Gershom Bassey who garnered 214 votes.
In the House of Representatives election in the two units, Hon. Etta Mbora of PDP scored 299 votes, while his LP rival Bobby Ekpenyong picked 120 votes, as APGA secured 25 votes, APC 21, UPP,3, AD, PPA,NCP, APA, and NNPP each had one vote each, while invalid votes were 16.
Most persons in rural Cross River were unable to vote yesterday and voting is expected to continue today, Sunday.
Meanwhile the State Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Pastor Lawrence Ekwok while speaking to CrossRiverWatch, said what is happening is a clear indications that Prof . Jega had planned to rig the elections for his preferred candidate, and that Nigerians will not take it.
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