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INEC extends voting time beyond 2 pm

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended voting time in polling units where officials of the commission did not arrive on time.

The ICIR had earlier reported how INEC officials arrived late in several polling units in some states including the federal capital territory.

Officially, INEC officials were supposed to be at their various polling units as at 7 am on Saturday morning, and voting was supposed to commence at exactly 8 am. At 2 pm, INEC officials were expected to stop anyone from joining the voting queue as polls would have closed. Those who were on the queue at 2 pm would be allowed to vote no matter how long it takes.

However, none of the polling units visited by The ICIR had INEC officials present at 8 am. Some resumed at 8:15 am while others were still setting up their cubicles by past 9 am.

Across the country, there were polling centres that did not open as at 11 am and others where voting materials are yet to arrive by midday, thus making it almost impossible for the polls to close by 2 pm as was initially announced by INEC.

Speaking during a press briefing at the International Conference Centre in Abuja on Saturday, INEC Commissioner for Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the voting time has been extended beyond 2 pm. The decision was necessary to make up for the lost time, he added.

According to him, the time to be added should be commensurate with the time that was lost due to the late arrival of personnel and materials.

For instance, any polling unit where voting began by 8.30 am, will have the voting time extended by 30 minutes, while those who began voting at 12 noon will have 4 hours added to the official voting time.

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