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Scores of registered voters in Imo State who turned out to cast their votes for their preferred presidential and National Assembly candidates yesterday were at the weekend disenfranchised due to the absence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials in their areas.
Not minding the sit-at-home threat by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), scores of voters at different polling units of the 27 local councils of the state waited for the officials of the commission for several hours before they arrived for accreditation and voting while electoral officials did not show up in some areas at all.
Specifically, many registered voters who arrived polling centres at Obudi Agwa in Oguta local council and Akwakuma Girl’s Secondary School in Owerri North local council waited till about 4:00p.m before they dispersed.
In some polling units in Mbaitoli local council, voting started about 1:00p.m. Meanwhile, some were also unable to cast their votes because of the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
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A professor of Mass Communication at the Imo State University, Owerri, Dede Konkwo, expressed disgust that the BVAS machines deployed to his polling unit malfunctioned.
In some areas, the electoral officials were also accused of not bringing result sheets alongside other electoral materials to the polling units, even as security agencies were either not seen or not enough at some voting centres.
The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, and his wife, Chioma, however, exercised their franchise at Polling Unit 008 in Omuma Ward, Oru East local council.
The governor commended INEC for the introduction of BVAS, stressing that the machine made the voting process easier and faster.
Uzodimma, who spoke after casting his vote, said: “It was a seamless and fulfilling experience today, as I and my wife, Chioma, cast our votes for the presidential and National Assembly elections today, at our polling unit 008, Omuma ward in Oru East local council.