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Enugu Voters Registration: Igbo-Etiti stakeholders cry out

By The Citizen
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Stakeholders in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area in Enugu State have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the ongoing voter registration in the area and reschedule it.

The Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Mr Eugene Odo, who made this known called on INEC to cancel the exercise pending when it would be prepared for it. Odo said that right from the start of the exercise on Wednesday, it has been one complaint after another, adding that he had not been able to register on the second day of the exercise. He said that the machines were not functional, adding that some of the ad hoc workers complained that their batteries were not charged while some said they had no cables or that they could not print the cards. He said that he had made oral complaint to the electoral officer in the local government and the resident electoral commissioner in the state but that they were not forthcoming with solutions. 'If you go to most of the 191 polling units in Igbo Etiti, people have assembled but INEC has not been able to print even a single card, even the seven machines presumed to be working are working sparingly,' he said. He wondered how INEC would be able to capture the eligible voters in the area as it had not been able to explain why the previous registration disappeared from the system. Also reacting, the Chairman of the area council, Mr Festus Ozoemena, called for the extension of the exercise and said that he had been going round to see how things were working but nothing was happening in the area. Ozoemena said that he did not need to be at the INEC office if he had registered, saying the crowd that gathered at the INEC office was there to show dissatisfaction. Reacting in similar fashion, Rep. Stella Ngwu (PDP-Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani) expressed her disappointment at INEC, saying it should cancel the exercise and return to the drawing board. Ngwu said that she provided vehicles for indigenes living outside the state to come back home and get registered only to discover that nothing was working. 'What will become of them after leaving their businesses to come home and experience this kind of problem?' she asked. The representative of Igbo-Etiti West in the state assembly, Mr Okechuku Nwoke, called for cancellation of the exercise so that INEC should go back to the drawing board and repair the machines. Nwoke wondered why the INEC chairman had not addressed Nigerian's and the people concerned in the total cancellation (of previous registration) on the measures to take so that things like that would not repeat themselves. He said that the state government closed its activities for three days because of the exercise, saying it would be disappointing if by June 1, the exercise ended without good result. The Commissioner for Local Government Matters in the state, Mr Okey Ani, on his part, said he had monitored events in the 17 council areas in the state and that those who had similar problem with Igbo Etiti were encountering the same situation. He called for the cancellation of the exercise, adding that it did not come by emergency and that INEC should go back and get itself prepared to render the service. Some of the corps members acting as registration workers said the problem was that the chargers were not there while some said that the printers were bad. NAN reports that the situation was the same in various communities, including Aku, Ukehe, Umunko, Ekwegbe, Ohodo and Ogbede. Igbo-Etiti recorded zero in the INEC data base in the 2010 voter registration. (NAN)