As the continuous voter registration ended in Enugu on Sunday, many eligible voters have expressed the fear that they might be disenfranchised in the 2015 general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who monitored the final day of the exercise which commenced on May 28, reports that many prospective voters had yet to be registered as of Sunday.
In some areas visited in Enugu East, Enugu North, Enugu South, Igbo-Etiti and Nsukka local government areas, people still trooped out on the last day of the exercise to be registered in the designated polling units.
Of the 2,945 polling units in the state, registration in 621 in the previous exercise were cancelled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and re-registration ordered.
Reacting to the situation, the Chief of Staff to Gov. Sullivan Chime, Mrs Ifeoma Nwobodo, expressed disappointment that in spite of the mobilisation of the people by the state government, the exercise was amost “a failure’’.
Nwobodo said that reports from all around the state showed that there was poor deployment of machines and staff by the national electoral body.
“INEC brought very old machines and deployed very few staff which was inadequate for the exercise. And the use of collation centres in some instances did not help the situation.
“We are appealing to INEC to extend the exercise and make available more machines so that more people will be registered,’’ she said.
In his reaction, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Chief Vita Abba, said there was no way INEC could conclude the registration of the potential voters who came out.
“With the crowd I am seeing today at Nsukka, there is no way INEC can finish registering the voters today,’’ Abba said.
On his part, the Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in the state, Prince Cornelius Nnaji, said that more than 10,000 people in Abakpa Nike had yet to register.
Nnaji, who is the Chairman of Enugu East LGA, complained of insufficient machines, saying “we need more machines and more time’’.
“Abakpa Nike is the heart of Enugu with the highest population of people. It will be unfair and abuse of fundamental human rights if eligible voters are disenfranchised,’’ he said.
The state’s Commissioner for Transport, Mr Chukwuka Utazi, said that “if the INEC ends the registration today, many people will be left unregistered.
“Mobilisation was superb but computers were too slow in capturing data coupled with the incompetence of the ad hoc workers.
“Our prayer is for INEC to extend the time and provide more effective computers. If this is done, I promise you, within three days almost all prospective voters will be captured,’’ he said.
Some of the eligible voters narrated their experiences in the exercise with many saying that they spent three days to four days trying to get registered.
Mrs Adline Iyioke told NAN in Ukehe, Igbo-Etiti local government, that many indigenes of the area returned from their various places of abode for the exercise, raising the population of potential voters at the weekend.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the state, Dr Lawrence Azubuike, said the commission was doing all it could to address the problems.
On calls to extend the time, the REC said such directive had to come from its headquarters in Abuja.
The registration was conducted in 10 states of Taraba, Gombe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa. NAN