By Idahosa Moses-Benin City
There was a low turnout at the various designated centres in Benin City, the Capital of Edo State as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), conducted the much-awaited BVAS mock voters accreditation in preparation for the conduct of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
A visit by our correspondent to Ward 7, Unit 24, Payne Primary School, Benin City, accreditation of voters started at exactly 9:00 am, as INEC officials were fully on ground for the exercise.
At ward 4 Idia College and other centres visited in the state capital, voters turnout was also low.
Some mock-voters who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity expressed displeasure over the poor turn-out of residents.
They maintained that the development has demonstrated that the country’s electoral umpire, INEC, is not prepared to conduct the forthcoming general elections as earlier scheduled.
According to them, “INEC should tell Nigerians if they are ready for this coming general elections. There was no low publicity from the commission on today’s exercise”
They added that “when we came here, we discovered that many voters were moved from their former units to other units.
“This action will certainly confuse on that election day. If a solution is not found to this issue, there will be voter apathy that day of the election and so many eligible voters would have been disenfranchised.
Speaking on the exercise, the INEC Resident Commissioner in Edo, Mr Obo Effanga, said that the exercise was to test-run the BVA technology, as well as to create voters awareness for the general elections
Effanga further stated that the exercise would enable the voters to understand how BVAS works during accreditation, adding that the reason for the migration of voters from one unit to another unit was to decongest bigger units and enhance quick accreditation the mock-voters
He, however, disclosed that the commission had earlier held a meeting with all the political parties, informing them of the issue of the migration of voters.
Also speaking on the exercise, a PDP Chieftain in the state, Otoide Meg, lamented the low turnout of voters and confusion among voters over their migration from their previous units to new units by INEC
According to Otoide, “The idea of being in one unit and made to migrate to another unit by INEC is causing a lot of confusion right now (as at the time of the interview).
“I discovered that I have been moved from unit 13 to unit 49. If I have not come here today I wouldn’t have known my new unit.
“Many women came here today and they were surprised that they were moved to other units. So, it is causing a lot of confusion among voters”.