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Scarcity of DDC machines hampers Enugu voter registration

By The Citizen
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Prospective voters in Enugu State have asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to provide more Direct Data Capturing machines to ensure the success of the continuous voter registration in the state.

Hundreds of prospective voters, who were waiting to be registered at Okpara Square in the state capital, made the call when the Chairman of Enugu North Local Government Area, Emeka Ede, came to monitor the exercise on Thursday.

Our correspondent, who visited the center and some other registration centers in parts of the state especially Enugu North senatorial zone observed that there were very few functioning DDC machines despite the large turnout of prospective voters.

Only two DDC machines, which were manned by three National Youth Service Corps members, were available for about a thousand people who were at the center when our correspondent visited.

The Okpara Square is the venue of parades and other public ceremonies of the government, but in the absence of any formal celebration of the Democracy Day in the state, workers and other persons took advantage of the public holiday to register ahead of the 2015 elections.

The state government had also declared Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as public holidays to enable workers participate in the exercise.

But the enthusiasm of the large number of people who turned out to register was undermined by the insufficient number of DDC machines, a development which slowed the pace of the exercise, leading to long queues at the various centers.

Several prospective voters, who spoke to our correspondent, complained about the few number of DDC machines provided by INEC.

The councillor, representing Ward 2, which included Okpara Square, Mr. Ayogu Catherine, who spoke on behalf of the prospective voters, said more machines were needed to avoid disenfranchising majority of voters in the state.

Speaking as the voters protested against the inadequacy of DDC machines during the council chairman's visit, she said, 'We need up to six machines to be able to register people before the conclusion of the registration.

'About 1,000 people turned out to register yesterday (Wednesday) but they captured only about 20 people.

'People are eager to register but there are few machines - we need more machines.'

One of the NYSC members conducting the registration, who gave his name as Noah Nongon, also spoke of the need for more machines.

Nongon told our correspondent that beside the insufficient number of machines, the exercise was dogged by other challenges including lack of electricity to power the machines. Punch