Many eligible voters in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, on Monday lamented their inability to register in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria correspondent, who monitored the exercise, reports that it was marred with a series of complaints and frustrations in most of registration centres visited.
INEC had announced March 14 as the deadline for Continuous Voters Registration in the state ahead of the June 18 governorship election.
Some of the registrants who claimed to have arrived at the centres as early as 7.00 a.m., lamented that they were not attended to as at 2.00 p.m.
A registrant at Ward 2 Centre, Ado-Ekiti, Mr Biola Abegunde, noted, “It is unfortunate, we are just deceiving ourselves with this exercise as there is no integrity in it.”
Abegunde urged INEC to consider extending the exercise, saying that it would encourage more people to register and vote during the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Ms Peace Ajayi, said she had visited two centres and it took an average of 30 minutes for a prospective registrant to be captured.
She lamented that the slow pace of work resulted in the large number of people queuing at the centres.
Ajayi called on INEC to extend the exercise to give eligible voters the opportunity to register and to avoid any case of voter disenfranchisement.
Babajide Otitoju, who was at the premises of the state INEC office hoping to be registered, said he registered online and was asked to come for capturing but on getting to the INEC office he discovered that today was the deadline.
Otitoju, however, lamented that no INEC staff attended to him since he arrived at the office at about 8.00 a.m.
A businessman, Bola Ige, said that he was at the state INEC office on Wednesday and Friday last week but was not attended to and coming to the office this morning he met an overwhelming crowd.
A civil servant, Mrs kemi Babajide, said that she was not aware that today was the closing date for the exercise.
Babajide said she noticed only one registration machine at the state INEC office, which she said was not enough for the exercise with the crowd at the office.
Madam Anike Fasola, a resident, said she has been moving from one centre to another for her to be registered but all in vain, noting that many of the centres were bedevilled with logistics problem.
She observed that the data capturing matching at the centres were slow.
She, however, urged the commission to consider extending the exercise, noting that without extension many electorate in Ado-Ekiti would be disenfranchised in the forthcoming governorship election.
She said this was imperative because the voter card remains a legitimate weapon to enthrone good governance.
Mr Oluwafemi Omolusi, a registration officer at the INEC office in Ado-Ekiti, said the major challenge was the lack of orderliness by the registrants.
Omolusi said most people only wait until the last minute to register leading to overcrowding at the centres.
He said registration is ongoing in all the 177 wards across the state and the machines were available at each ward which would not have called for the crowd at the state INEC office if some of the people had gone to their wards for registration.
Omolusi said that the request for the extension of the exercise could only be approved by the INEC headquarters in Abuja, if a case is made by the concerned authorities.
The Public Affairs Officer of INEC in Ekiti State, Mrs Rolake Odebunmi, attributed the crowd in some centres in the state to the lackadaisical attitude of some residents to the exercise.
Odebunmi said the exercise started in June 2021 and many people refused to turn up for registration, but only trooped out en mass to register on the last day.