The mock accreditation exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission has been marred by low turnout in major cities across Anambra State.
Our correspondent who visited some of the designated polling units in Onitsha, Obosi, Nnewi and Awka, on Saturday, observed low turnout of registered voters as of the time of filing this report.
Although, at some of the centres visited in Onitsha, Obosi and Awka, the INEC officials present said the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System used for the mock accreditation of voters were working seamlessly and perfectly.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had said the commission took the delivery of the BVAS machines for the election which had been tested to ensure its functionality, hence the need to conduct a mock accreditation of voters as done in Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections.
But residents of Onitsha, who came out for the exercise on Saturday, expressed displeasure on the lack of awareness on the exercise, insisting that the commission did not do enough to sensitise them.
But while speaking to our correspondent at one of the designated centres in Onitsha South Local Government Area of Anambra, the INEC Assistant Electoral Officer, Reginald Onyeukwu, said the assurance that the ongoing mock accreditation was going on smoothly and satisfactory.
Onyeukwu said, “What we are doing is to test run our equipment which we are going to use for elections. There are two ways to accredit a voter, it is either finger print or facial.
“When you check at the people we are attending to, if their fingers failed, we used their face and the system will say accreditation pass.
“We are trying to test our system so that it would not fail us during election day. We want to prove to the people that we are capable of conducting credible, free and fair elections across the country.”
Speaking on the low turnout for the exercise, Onyeukwu insisted that the people were well informed through their local government chairmen, wondering why they did not turn up.
“We informed the local government chairmen, the local government Chairmen informed the town messengers to notify the people about the mock accreditation exercise.
“Our system is very fast, when we are done with them, they go, as I am talking to you now, we have accredited about 35 people here, the exercise is moving very fast. It does not waste time,” he added.
Speaking on the accreditation process, a resident, Josephine Uko, who commended the process, attributed the low turn out to the ongoing cash scarcity which has forced the people to keep vigil at the various bank automated teller machines centres.
Uko said, “The reason for the low turnout is because people are at the various bank ATM centres queuing and searching for cash. Many people are not aware that there is a mock accreditation exercise going on today.”
“The exercise is wrong timing, right now, what is paramount on the minds of the people is where they will get cash that has been made scarce in the past few weeks and this exercise is just not on our agenda right now.”
Our correspondent watched as the BVAS captured the fingerprints and faces of the few registered voters without any issue.