“I have moved round the various polling units in my community and found out that the card readers are working faster in some places and very slow in other units,” reports Elizabeth Andaebi from Bayelsa. “It has struggled to pick up on the fingerprints of voters, rejecting most people though their names are on the list. Some people without PVCs are still trying to get hold of them and they are keen to vote. On the whole, people seem to think the card reader is a set back to this election.”
From Rivers State, Nkaiso Akpan shared a message circulating among his friends on WhatsApp: “card readers were apparently failing often at a polling booth and the guy couldn’t understand why as the readers were all new. So he approached the INEC woman who inspected the reader, only to find the protective film on the lens of the reader had not been removed. After a protracted argument he convinced the woman to remove it. The reader not only read the prior rejected cards, it was reading with even faster response time.”
Throughout the morning, there has been pride in the calm that has prevailed, despite the issues. Flora Asieri, also from Bayelsa, says: “The INEC officers are already on ground but the card reader could not work, hence it was return for unlocking. This has not in anyway created much ado as people are patiently waiting.”
There was a stir when news hit the queues that the official site of the INEC had reportedly been hacked. Awotongha Gbaligha said he heard people ‘crying out that the system has been attacked’.
As news of the alleged hacking hit Twitter, the INEC continued to broadcast their central message that they are non partisan and that they expect voters to “control themselves”. However, the waiting voters seem more subdued than stirred up.
Glaad Amadi spoke to 41-year-old voter, Jerry, in Port Harcourt who said: “People are not excited. Party agents are cursing confusion and delays. The process is too slow. The crowds are not happy – we were told the vote would be 8am but we have just started at midday.”
Sylvester, voter, 42, Port Harcourt, said: “So many of us have paid to travel to their various homes to better Nigeria. Nigeria should not fail to bring something back in return.”