Despite restriction of vehicular movement across Cross River State and the heavy deployment of security operatives, there were fears across the state over the safety of voters and INEC officials.
Some electoral officials in charge of Akam Ward in Ikom Local Government Area were said to have absconded from their polling unit. The officials reportedly fled the polling units amidst reports that there were plans to lynch them and do away with the electoral materials by agents of a political party.
However, following the unimpressive performance of the electronic card readers introduced by INEC for the conduct of the elections nationwide, the INEC Resident Commissioner in Cross River State, yesterday directed its officials in the state to immediately stop the use of card readers.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Okey Ezeani, said the directive became necessary due to several complaints across the state about the card readers.
“From the look of things, it means we might even not use the card readers during the other elections,” he said.
“IRS (is) a machine, it can fail anytime. So, instead if disenfranchising voters, I have directed them to stop using the card readers,” Ezeani stated.
Fair enough, at about 1:15 p.m., voting had commenced across many polling units in the state. However, in Obubu, the PDP governorship candidate and senator representing Cross River North, Benedict Ayade, complained of late accreditation, stressing that as at 2 p.m., voting was yet to commence.
Although, there was delay in the deployment of card readers and other election materials to polling units in Calabar, the state capital, even as LEADERSHIP Sunday observed that as at 10am, materials were yet to be delivered.