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2011: FIRST BATCH OF INEC'S DDC MACHINES ARRIVES LAGOS

By NBF News
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Strong indication emerged last night that the first batch of the Direct Data Capture (DDC) biometric machine meant for the conduct of the next January voters' registration has arrived the Lagos port.

Details of the arrival of the machines were not clear yesterday but Daily Sun gathered that the machines may not arrive the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters on Zambezi Street, Maitama, Abuja until next week.

The machines, according to the projection of the INEC leadership, is arriving earlier than expected. The Commission had announced last November 7 that it had signed the contract award for the supply of the machines to three firms who were expected, according to the terms of the contract, to deliver the machines 38 days after the signing of the contract papers.

INEC's Director of Public Affairs, Emmanuel Umenger told Daily Sun that he was unaware of the arrival of the machines. However, he said if they had indeed arrived, it would be a plus for the Professor Attahiru Jega-led commission and an opportunity to break away from the past and offer Nigerians free, fair and credible elections in 2011.

He explained that the decision to conduct fresh voters register in the first place and the decision to employ the use of the DDC machines was a confirmation of Professor Jega's commitment on appointment to meet the yearnings and aspiration of Nigerians for the elusive free and fair elections.

Also reacting to the development, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Chief Willy Ezugwu said it was a welcome development if it was true the DDC machine consignment has arrived the country noting that the early arrival would make INEC to be well prepared.

Also, the Labour Party Chairman, Chief Dan Nwayanwu stated that though his party was expecting the machines later in December but that if has arrived it is good for the nation 'at least, the INEC people will be able to test run them before the actual registration. All is well.'

The INEC had announced it signed all the contracts for the supply of a total of 132,000 units of Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines to be used during the voter registration exercise slated for January 2011.

Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman who made the disclosure in a terse statement in Abuja disclosed that equipment were beingĀ  expected in the country within the next 35 days.

Firms contracted for the manufacturing and supply of the DDC Machines are Zinox Technologies Ltd, which is to supply 80,000 units at $1, 771. 73 per unit; Messrs Haier Electrical Appliances Corp Ltd, with a supply of 30,000 units at $1, 699. 60 per unit; and Avante International Technology Inc.,to supply 22,000 units at $1, 699. 60 per unit.

Going by the cost above, the total unit costs of the 132 units stand at about $230m. The unit cost, according to Idowu was inclusive of all taxes and charges.

Already, the commission had embarked on the training of its staff that would in turn train the ad-hoc staff to be engaged for the exercise, which will be mainly Corp members.

Professor jega had also in nthe tentative time table released recently said the voter's registration will hold in January in 2011 when the DDC machines would have arrived the country.