An independent observer of the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards and Continuous Voter Registration Exercise conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Adeola Soetan, has said that the poor conduct of the exercise is a signal for poor 2015 elections.
Speaking about his observations on Sunrise Daily, Mr Soetan who is also the coordinator, Democracy Vanguard, noted that the PVC distribution and voter registration “was a failure” in rural communities in Ogun state, where he led a team of observers.
He added that this sent “a dangerous signal to 2015 elections” hence the organisation’s report on the exercise titled “2015 Election May Be Dead Before Arrival” based on the things INEC failed to do.
He disclosed that a group of farmers who had pooled funds to rent a vehicle to convey them to the centre for registration/collection had signified their disinterest in making new attempts at obtaining their cards after the exercise did not hold at the scheduled place and date.
According to Soetan, they did not know where the INEC office was in their local governments.
He further stressed that there was a lot of attention on the urban centres, noting that the exercise was a “mess” in the rural areas.
“If exchanging my temporary voter card to permanent voter card is this difficult, then what’s going to happen when you are going to use card reader”, he asked, arguing that INEC had disenfranchised millions of Nigerians.
Asked if he had sought any explanation from the electoral umpire, Soetan noted that a top INEC official in Lagos, whose identity he kept undisclosed, had admitted to poor preparation on the umpire’s part.
He wondered why INEC, “one of the well funded institutions in Nigeria”, should record such failure, citing “the condition of some of the machines used for the exercise”.
Despite his reservations about INEC’s performance, Soetan said the situation could still be salvaged.
“I want INEC to assure us and demonstrate practically that 2015 would not be disastrous,” he said.