Election: C’River REC halts voters’ protest over shortage of ballot papers

Map of Cross River State in Southern part of Nigeria

The timely intervention of the Cross River Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Gabriel Yomere, helped to restore normalcy and voting at RCC Round About Polling Unit in Ward Six, Calabar Municipality on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that voters at the centre had refused to allow voting to continue when they were told that the ballot papers for the senatorial election were incomplete.

They vowed not to allow the exercise to continue until the ballot papers were complete.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the development, an elderly female voter, Mrs Gloria Asuquo, said she came to the polling unit as early as 8am but regretted that INEC officials and electoral materials arrived at the centre around 11am.

Asuquo said: “When they came here, they announced to us that the ballot papers for the senatorial election were short by 350 pieces.

“We refused to accept that and decided not to vote until the ballot papers were complete.

“How can you tell us that the materials are not complete when people are all here waiting to vote.

“What happened to the remaining ballot papers?

“We are no longer blind, without complete ballot papers, nobody is voting in this polling unit or else we will scatter everything.”

Also, Mr Effiong Moses said the polling unit was in the heart of the town, “so, saying that ballot papers were short is playing politics with the rights of Nigerians”.

However, in a swift response, the REC, who visited the polling unit, immediately went to the state office of the commission and brought more ballot Papers.

There was spontaneous jubilation at the centre, when he returned with more ballot papers at about noon, when the process commenced.

Yomere said that the shortage was a human error.

He said that the materials came late and that the mistake occured when they were being hurriedly sorted out.

“We have enough ballot papers.

“The challenge was that of the Nigerian factor, where these materials don’t come in time and when they do, INEC officials have just a day or two to sort them out for all the polling units in the state,” he said. (NAN)

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