Gbarnga-Siaquelleh Residents Want BVR Extended
By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan
It is less than 24 hours for the second phase of the Biometric Voter Registration exercise to close in Bong, Nimba, Lofa, and six other counties.
As mandated by the National Elections Commission (NEC), the process is intended to last for 18 days.
However, there are appeals for extension coming from Gbarngasiaquelleh, a very populated town in Bong County’s 4th electoral District.
The town has one precinct with four voting places.
The citizen’s decision to appeal for the process to be extended was triggered by an alleged delay that reportedly brought the registration process to a standstill for almost a day at the Gbarngasiaquelleh Public School.
“We are appealing to NEC to help extend our time for at least one or two days because they have delayed us two times now and all they can say is that the cards are finished. On Sunday, May 1, we all were in the queue, and I personally brought my mom to register but we stood with other people in the line for the whole day and did not register” Joseph Koko, one of the residents said.
According to him, because of the reported lack of cards by NEC Workers, many of the Registrants who came that day and stood in the long queue went back home because some came from nearby villages to do their registration.
“When they said that the cards were limited, we were left in the line and almost all of the NEC workers went elsewhere; leaving us here with one of their Staffers who kept saying that there will be cards soon.”
They want the National Elections Commission to adhere to their appeals to extend the process by at least 24 or 48 hours to enable those who could not register due to the lack of cards to complete their registrations.
“I have not yet registered because the day I went to do my registration, we were told that the cards were finished. So, I had to go back to my village” Garmai Sukornormue told our Correspondent as she horridly ran to the line in fear of being late.
Garmai was hopeful that her process will be done but joins the calls for an extension in the date on grounds that there are others who left for their villages that day but have not returned to carry on their process.
NEC staffers at the Gbarnga-siaquelleh center did not make a comment when contacted by our Correspondent. They, however, referred our Correspondent to speak with the upper Bong Magistrate Mr. Daniel Newland.
However, Mr. Newland, in providing clarities confirmed that there was a delay in Gbarngasiaquelleh for a day but he does not see any reason for extension because it is not the only place that has experienced such.
“Some places had delays for three days and some four and they are not calling for extension so why only Gbarngasiaquelleh? Look, people should not politicize this issue because there is no way that the process will be extended. How can they call for an extension when our staffers at that center have started registering 30 to 40 people for whole day?” Newland concluded.
A 2020 NEC data shows that the Gbarngasiaquelleh Public School precinct registered little over 1500 eligible voters; figure that is expected to increase due to the huge number of people that are currently pulling in to register according to an insider.