By Aaron Ossai
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu has assured Nigerians that nobody will be disenfranchised during the ongoing presidential and National Assembly elections due to malfunction of the Biometric Voter Accreditation System, BVAS or late arrival of electoral materials.
Briefing newsmen, Yakubu said that the Commission is aware of the challenges in some states and polling units and has taken drastic measures to correct them immediately to ensure that no eligible voter is denied his civic rights.
He explained that where electoral materials arrived late or the BVAS were found to have malfunctioned, every voter who was at the polling unit before 2.30pm must be allowed to vote no matter how long it takes.
He said that Abia state recorded the highest number of complaints about late arrival of INEC officials and materials stressing that officials in the state have been directed to ensure that all voters on queue before 2.3pm must be allowed to vote no matter how long that will take.
Speaking further, the INEC boss said that in Imo state, the Commission had issues in Orlu, Okigwe, Oguta and Osu local government areas due to security concerns but quickly stated that Police and soldiers are already escorting its officials to the affected areas.
According to him, in any area across the country that accreditation and voting started late, the time for the exercise will be extended to ensure that every voter exercised his or her franchise.
He also admitted that some INEC officials were attacked by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in Gwoza, Borno state explaining that the issue is being tracked and that details will be made available later.
Professor Yakubu expressed satisfaction over the large turnout of voters across the country and appealed to them to remain peaceful during and after voting and report any attempt to breach the peace to security agencies.