By Lere Olayinka
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Former Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address the teething problems militating against the ongoing voters registration exercise, saying; “It is only a thorough registration of voters that can guarantee free, fair and credible elections in the country.”

Lawal, who made this statement after observing the exercise in Ado, Ijero, Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ise-Orun, Ilejemeje and Gbonyin Local Government Areas in the State noted that most of the operators of the Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines were not familiar with them.

He also observed inadequate materials, unavailability of energy to charge the DDC machines, transportation and accommodation problems as part of the hiccups to the success of the ongoing registration exercise.

“It has been observed that most of the adhoc workers of INEC are not conversant with the workings of the DDC machines, there is also issue of power supply, inadequate registration materials, improper configuration of the DDC machines, and immobility of personnel.

“The exercise has been on for four days now and only very negligible number of eligible voters has been registered and the exercise is just for 15 days!

“This should worry all well-meaning Nigerians, who crave for free, fair and credible general elections in April.

“Therefore, it is my appeal to INEC that all the identified lapses should be corrected forthwith to allow for a smooth and credible registration exercise, which will guarantee acceptable future elections in the country,” Dr. Lawal said.

The former deputy governor however commended INEC for the innovations introduced in the exercise, adding that; “The INEC field workers have generally been very polite and conscious of the enormous national responsibility placed on their shoulders.

“INEC should however guide against the manipulation of the exercise by desperate politicians, who would go to any length to secure victory during elections.”