27 January 2011

Nigeria: Voter Registration - Lugbe Residents Rate INEC Low

Abuja — A cross section of residents of Lugbe, a settlement in the suburbs of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has rated the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the ongoing voter registration exercise as poor.

The residents have also called for an extension of the exercise, which is billed to end in two days. Frustrated residents who spoke with LEADERSHIP at an overcrowded registration point in ECWA Church premises, Lugbe zone 1 said unless the exercise was extended, many of them would be disenfranchised.

Micheal Ekwe, in an interview said that the voter registration exercise should be extended because the stipulated two weeks were grossly inadequate to allow all eligible voters within the settlement to register.

"Lugbe is highly populated with eligible voters because of the mass of people who reside here unlike the town where you can find only a block of houses in a street and if all the eligible voters are not duly registered then the crusade about credible election is lost" Ekwe posited.

Uche Osiri another resident observed that there was only one Direct Data Capture (DDC) machine for the settlement which has over 1.5million residents. He also called on INEC to upgrade the DDC machines as the registration process with the present machines was slow and tedious.

"It is unfair that after talks that the DDC machine has been upgraded, it still takes over 10 minutes to register one person. This makes the registration process slow and cumbersome unlike the MTN DDC where you just walk in and register within 5 minutes" he said.

Nneka Eze described the entire exercise as a nightmare "I came as early as 3.30am on January 21, 2011 and I have not been able to register till date. Even if INEC gives an additional 2 weeks I don't think it will be enough to register all credible voters".

Esther Agim, A youth Corps Member and INEC adhoc staff said there was improvement with the registration but the area was quite vast and required more DDC machines to reduce the stress for them.

She further said the major challenge they face is lack of appropriate security for conveying them to and from the collection point of the DDC machine.

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