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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that all Nigerians in queues at polling units in the country before 02:30pm will exercise their franchise.
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who made this known at a real-time election briefing in Abuja on Saturday, noted that no Nigerian will be disenfranchised.
The electoral chief also said the Bimodal Voter Registration Systems (BVAS) has been “functioning optimally” in all parts of the country.
Nigerians head to the poll on Saturday to elect a new President and members of the National Assembly. Accreditation and voting were meant to start at 08:30am till 02:30pm but a few of the 176,606 polling units across Nigeria weren't open on time due to logistics and security challenges.
The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People's Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso had on Saturday morning complained that voting started late at his polling unit in Kano and consequently urged INEC to be “patient” for his supporters to vote before closing the process.
Similarly, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, expressed disappointment when the BVAS machine at his polling unit failed to accredit him and his wife. The governor had also called on INEC to extend the voting process till evening.
However, responding to a question on delayed voting from reporters on Saturday afternoon, the INEC boss said every Nigerian with Permanent Voter Cards present at the polling units will vote.
Yakubu said, “No Nigerian will be disenfranchised. Yes, we opened some polling units late. And we admitted that in some places, some polling units were opened late but the system has an automatic mechanism to recover lost time.
“We don't start 0830am and close 02:30pm on the dot. If we start later than 08:30am, whoever is on the queue before 02:30pm will vote, no matter how long it takes. So, no Nigerian will be disenfranchised on that score provided he or she is at the polling unit before 02:30pm.”
Last updated on March 26th, 2023 at 07:21 am
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