By Naomi Sharang/Doris Esa
#TrackNigeria: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has invalidated votes cast at AYA/Asokoro Polling Unit 010 in Abuja due to irregularities.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, announced this at 12.20 p.m. while briefing newsmen on the development.
He said the irregularities were as a result of vote cast at a wrong location in Area 1, which he described as “presumed unit”.
The trouble started when voters assembled at the AYA/Asokoro polling unit, the “the authentic unit”, and discovered that voting had commenced at the wrong location at Area 11.
At the discovery, the voters raised alarm which attracted accosted INEC officials conducting polling at the wrong unit.
At that point, the electoral officials quickly packed their materials and moved to the AYA/Asokoro polling unit 010.
The voters insisted that the ballots cast at the “wrong unit’’ should be cancelled.
The REC explained that when he was informed of the development, he and the Commissioner of Police in the territory, Mr Bala Ciroma, quickly moved to the area.
He added that he also coordinated with political parties’ agents in the area in the effort to resolve the matter.
According to him, the agents needed to be present to see that all the materials we are going to use to repeat the election is intact and not tampered with.
“Our second partner in election are the security agents who will ensure the security of the place; they will help the political party agents to know that things have started without ulterior motives.
“We have come to settle this challenge.
“I asked the Polling Officer, because we confirmed that election had started at a wrong place.
“I asked him when he got to the place whether the party agents were there, he said no. That is the first mistake.
“The second mistake was that there were no security agents available.
“We had discovered that election had started. We also discovered that a lot of the votes cast were done manually which is against our regulations.
“The solution is that all the votes cast, whether rightly or wrongly, were cast in a wrong place, so they are invalidated.
“We are not going to use them at all,” Bello declared.
He said that the Smart Card Readers would be reconfigured in order to re-commence the process.
“The ICT officials are already on their way to come and reconfigure the cards,” he said.
All Progressives Congress (APC) party agent at the unit, Mr Bala Babale, said “our position is that the vote cast at Area 11 should be cancelled.
“We demand to know the number of votes and we demand to see the card reader that accredited the voters.
“It is unfortunate that one of the ad hoc staff did manual registration which is against the Electoral Act.”
A voter, Mr Emmanuel Okoro, said “we blame INEC for the irregularity.”
The card readers were later re-configured and voting commenced in the unit at 2.10 p.m. (NAN)