By PETER OKUTU
A group, Ebonyi Professional Forum, stated yesterday that giving the present set backs still being recorded across various polling centres in the state, there was no way the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, could come up with an accurate and well detailed computation of all eligible voters in the state.
It said barely 72 hours to the end of the exercise, reports from across the state still indicated unavailability of registration materials, particularly registers, ink and malfunctioning of printers.
In a press statement issued in Abakaliki, the Convener, Ebonyi Professional Forum, Mr. Magnus Eze, who noted that the attention of the group had been drawn to the bulk-passing between INEC and National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, over the delay in payment of allowances to adhoc staff involved in the on-going listing of voters, appealed to those involved to expedite action on payment of the adhoc staff.
He said: “We have keenly monitored the on-going registration of voters in Ebonyi State and are worried that an accurate list of eligible voters in the state might not be possible.
“They should, as a matter of urgency, put their house in order and pay the corps members their allowances. The non-corps members among them should also be paid to avoid the disruption of the exercise in the state.
“Although media reports quoted the two agencies to have assured that the situation was being addressed; it is our considered opinion that it calls for serious concern in view of the hitches that have trailed the exercise from the beginning.”
Eze alleged that registration officers in some parts of the state usually advise those registered but were not able to get their cards to visit the local government offices of INEC for collection of the cards on the expiration of the exercise.
He said such arrangement was unacceptable, even as some registered voters might not be able to afford the cost of going to the council headquarters to collect their cards after February 5.
In his words: “We gathered that the registration officers usually advise those registered but were not able to get their cards to visit the local government offices of INEC for the collection of the cards on the expiration of the exercise.
“Our worry is that many Ebonyians are illiterate and poor, and might not be able to afford the cost of going to the council headquarters to collect their cards after February 5. Finally, efforts should be made to ensure that all registered voters are issued with voters’ cards.
“Arrangements should also be worked out on how to use the polling units to distribute the cards to registered voters even after the expiration of the registration.”