…Says It’s Sign Of Poor Preparedness
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says the associated slow performance of the Bi-Modal Voters Accreditation Machine System (BVAS) is evidence of poor level of preparation on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) concerning the 2023 general election.
Governor Wike expressed his displeasure when he spoke with journalists shortly after he cast his vote at 12.42pm at his polling unit 7 in Ward 9, Rumueprikom of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
The governor and his wife, Justice Suzzette Eberechi Nyesom-Wike had returned two hours after they were initially unable to cast their vote due to failure of BIVAS to accredit them.
Governor Wike said despite the promise of fixing the identified problem that delayed voting at the polling unit, INEC seemed still not in full control in order to ensure the BVAS machine operate maximally.
“Of all the promises made since I left here 2 hours ago, the BVAS is still not very functional. I don’t want to begin to suspect foul play.
“But from reports that I have received from other local governments, it does appear to me that it is the same experience.
“And then, you now wonder why it will be the same experience to Rivers people. I don’t want to have any suspicion yet. But I don’t think it is quite encouraging.”
Governor Wike pointed to how the problem should not be allowed unresolved because that could lead to disenfranchising registered voters in the polling unit and other parts of the State that had similar experience.
“My people cannot be disenfranchised. As you can see, I have never done an election where you see this kind of crowd. I believe that they will extend the voting period (time) to 6 pm.
“Look at the time now; voting ought to have started from 8:30am to 2:30pm but we are just starting. So, I’m not happy with the preparedness of INEC as regards the election.”
The governor said the voters that have come out are patient, and enduring the scorching sun because they are determined to be part of the process.
“The electorate are still staying under the sun to make sure that they exercise their franchise, it is their right to vote. We have also told them that we believe it will be settled, but their patience cannot be taken for granted.
“I believe that every Nigerian would want to participate in this particular election. So, INEC should do everything within their powers to make sure that the people vote. If the people don’t vote, they won’t be happy.”
It will be recalled that the Rivers State governor was unable to cast his vote at about 10:50am when he first arrived his polling unit. The BVAS assigned to the unit could not function because of the technical problem it encountered, which made accrediting the governor and his wife difficult.