The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Saturday’s Kogi governorship election was an improvement on previous exercise conducted in the state.
Mr Nick Dazang, Deputy Director of Publicity in the commission, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that though there were few challenges with regard to card readers’ performance in Saturday’s exercise, security, accreditation and voting processes were successful.
Dazang said that there were some minor challenges of the card readers malfunctioning but disclosed that mechanism were immediately deployed to correct them.
“There was also an incident in Dekina where a ballot box was snatched even when voting had not started.
“There was also one ward, 27, at Anyigba, where ballot and result sheets were torn, otherwise, I think the election went well,’’ he said.
Dazang said that the incidence of violence that was anticipated during the polls was not much when compared with the cases in previous elections in the state.
“In the time past we had situations where our staff were abducted, people were killed.
“There is no incident of violence at that level; we have not heard about anybody’s death or abduction.
“There is an improvement compared to previous elections in the state which is considered to be volatile,’’ he said.
Dazang added that efficiency of the card reader was above average on Saturday as the uses of incident form were negligible.
“There was one particular area in Dekina where our officials were not proficient in the use of card reader and we are investigating what happened.
“Otherwise, I think generally, the election went on well; we have technical teams in all the 239 wards and in all the wards, we have ICT staff moved in to troubleshoot any experienced challenges.’’
He said that the claimed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Gov. Idris Wada that the card reads were not working and that there were inadequate incidence forms at polling units did not correspond with real situation.
“I don’t think what he said tallies with what we have seen and what we have monitored.
‘’The card reader was much successful; the incidences where we have that failure were very few,’’ he said.
The deputy director added that in all the cases where there was card reader failure, there were sufficient incident forms.
In the area were ballot box was snatched before the commencement of the election, Dazang said the snatcher wasted his time as it would not affect the election.
“In any case, even if there were ballot papers and he snatched them, the ballot papers cannot be counted when returned.’’
He expressed satisfaction over the election process and said: “our mission is to always improve on what we have done before and there was improvement in terms of elections held in Kogi state for over time.
“The state is noted for volatility and violence but that violence did not take place. Of course, there were few challenges but not the kind of violence we anticipated.’’
He added that the improvement was a mark of rigorous voter education carried out by INEC and other stakeholders as well as the appreciation of the efforts by voters.
“I think that people have seen the need to do the right thing,’’ he said.