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Voter registration under threat, three days to go

Three days to the commencement of the long-awaited registration of voters, about 46,000 units of the 132,000 Direct Data Capturing machines ordered by the Independent National Electoral Commission are yet to arrive the country.

The contracts were awarded to three companies — Avante Technology, Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation of China, and Zinox Technologies.

While Zinox, an indigenous information technology company, has supplied 77, 000 units out of the 80,000 awarded to it by INEC, Haier is said to have supplied only 9,000 units out of 30,000.

Avante, a United States technology company, is to supply 22, 000 units of the electronic equipment but had as at Monday not delivered even one.

Under the terms of contract, the companies are to deliver the machines on or before the commencement of the registration on Saturday.

A very senior INEC official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, made this known to our correspondent on Monday.

The INEC official, in a telephone interview from Abuja, said that the commission was worried about the development.

He said, “We are worried that all the DDC machines have not arrived in the country. With only three days to the registration of voters how do we send the equipment to the states that have not received the number that they are supposed to use for the exercise. We are disturbed because of the difficult terrain in many of the states.

“As I talk to you today (Monday), Avante has not delivered even one machine. Hair has done only about 30 per cent of the quantity awarded to it while Zinox has been able to deliver 77,000 pieces.”

But another senior source in INEC, who corroborated his colleague, however, said there was no cause for alarm as the commission would be able to conduct the exercise with just 120,000 DDC machines.

He said, “Despite the challenges we are facing with one of the contractors, who is yet to make good its promise to deliver the DDC machines before the commencement of the registration, INEC is better prepared for the process than it was in 2006.

“The commission will be able to commence the registration with 120,000 DDC machines if Avante does not supply before Saturday. I am saying 120,000 units because I am very optimistic that before Friday, more of them would arrive in the country.”

Our correspondent could not contact Avante on why it has not supplied the 22,000 units of DDC machines.

When contacted, the Head, Corporate Affairs, Zinox Technologies, Mr. Echika Ezuka, confirmed that the indigenous IT company had delivered 77,000 units.

He said, “Zinox is 100 per cent in-country as far as the DDC machines are concerned. We have delivered about 97 per cent with three per cent more to go due to logistics reasons. With Zinox equipment, INEC was able to train people for the registration exercise.”

Zinox had on December 7, 2010 brought in 14,000 units of the electronic equipment out of which some were stolen the following day at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

The theft generated so much controversy that the commission repeatedly assured that the voter registration would not be affected by the development.


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Posted by on Jan 10 2011. Filed under INEC Politics, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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