Foreign observers, under the auspices of the International Republican Institute and the African Union, yesterday said, card readers deployed for the Bayelsa State governorship election failed in many polling units.
They disclosed this in Yenagoa, during a news conference on their findings during the Bayelsa governorship poll and the supplementary election.
The Leader of the Foreign Observers Team in Bayelsa, Ms. Yvonne Ncululu Hudson, said the group recruited over 250 domestic observers that observed the election in the eight local government areas.
She said like other elections they had observed in other countries, Bayelsa governorship poll also had its peculiar challenges.
Hudson classified their observation into pre-election, election day and post-election.
On pre-election, she said the behaviour of the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party night before the election towards an APC agent at Yenagoa INEC office was not in line with the aim of obtaining peaceful and creditable election.
On election day observation, Hudson said materials arrived many polling units early for the election which made the accreditation exercise commence early.
She said, “Card readers failed in many polling units we visited. Voters attendance was not so impressive having known the total registered voters to be 654,492.
“There was relative calmness in some local government areas except Brass town, Nembe (Bassambiri) and Southern Ijaw that was cancelled outright due to perceived violence recorded on the election day.
“There were incidences of violence and destruction of houses and properties at Ekeremor, Brass, Nembe-Bassambiri and Korokorosei (Southern Ijaw) on election day.)
She recommended that the recruitment of ad hoc staff by INEC should be revisited, saying that their recruitment should be based on maturity and experience.
Hudson asked the Federal Government to use the services of the Nigerian Air Force to provide helicopters to distribute materials for elections to avoid diversion of materials by thugs.
She added, “ The use of card readers should be continued because from our observation, it checked excesses.
“The new strategy of accreditation and voting at the same time should be encouraged in all elections in Nigeria because it reduces time wasting.
“The Federal Government and INEC should involve the Nigerian Navy more on elections in riverine states.”
She concluded that the violence observed during the election was not widespread but pockets of violence at some units, especially before and during the December 5, 2015 governorship election.

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