Updated:24th January 2011
Despite the initial hicups, I did get it , and here's the proof.
The voter registration exercise in Nigeria , should be viewed as the first step to performing one's duties as a citizen.
Once a person is registered, the next step is to make sure you become informed of the various candidates, and ultimately help elect qualified people, by going out to vote.
The voting exercise for Nigeria's 2011 elections began on the 15th of January, after much fanfare you started to notice little white plastic desks scattered around various points in the city with at least 2 youth corpers , 1 civil defence personnel and in some cases a police officer manning the registration unit.
Personally, I had no idea where the registration units were in my district , but after 3 days, I noticed people congregating nearby and alot of activity so we figured out it must be the unit.
I tried getting the polling stations online, by visiting INEC website, got lots of information and news but unfortunately not the information I was searching for , further investigation led me to another site which had a lot of useful info it is called the reclaim Naija project , a grass root movement.
They had information from around the country but at the time not FCT, I eventually confirmed this by reading a tweet from a kind gentleman who had uploaded a picture of a document with the polling stations in Maitama on twitter.
After a few false starts, I decided to get it done at all cost on 21st of January and this is a basic summary of how the day went.
I arrived early and put my name down on a list, the people had organised themselves into writing down a list which was used once the Inec officials arrived to hand out que tickets.
At 6:45am there were already 90 or more names on the list so I complied accordingly and waited.
8:30 am the Inec officials had arrived and started handing out the que tickets,
My estimated time of service read 11:13 am so I just waited around and watched the process commence.
There was generally a large turn out and I must commend the INEC staff , who despite the difficult conditions managed to compose themselves proffesionally throughout .
You could see people from every tribe in Nigeria showing up comming together and registering
Technically people were discouraged from jumping the line as is normal here , allowances were made for pregnant women , women carrying babies or elderly people.
Commerce flourished as all sorts of vendors from newspapers to softdrinks did some brisk trade.
As the day progressed we started to notice the data capture machine was slowing down so it was taking longer to process each person, basically although the machines have a backup system, the data had to be backed up and the data flushed from the memory to ensure smooth operations unfortunately most of the staff at the registration units dont have the correct access control /permission or passwords to perform this function.
The day just progressively dragged on, the staff would sometimes switch places / functions to eliminate monotony I believe. Apart from capturing the data via the scanner and computer, there was an additional giant notepad used to collect name address and thumb print information for an extra level of data integrity
The highlight of my wait was suddenly noticing increased activity from security personnel in the area, an elegant lady who I recognised but couldn't place suddenly emerged from the SUV and joined us briefly in the que, she exchanged greetings with some people in the crowd and suddenly began advising members of the public about the importance of making sure we all voted after this registration process . Apparently she had also somehow waited for 2 previous days to register . The lady is a politician, Ireti Heebah Kingibe , I recognised her because I've seen her posters plastered all over Abuja
She eventually registered , bade everyone farewell and was on her way again.
I spent the rest of the day waiting for my number to come up, but in the process I spoke with people waiting around with me and even managed to interview some of the Inec support staff in the area.
In reality, people are still excited about the opportunity to make a difference in these elections although many are sceptical about if thier votes will really count.
Like with most things, there are bound to be initial teething problems but most people were optimistic the process was improving by the day.
The youth corpers at this particular registration unit were working very hard and did a tremendous job of it considering the circumstances
Eventually at about 2:30pm my number was called up , I did my data capture thumb print etc but Alas!
I couldn't get the voters registration card today, come tommorow the black ink had finishd in the HP printer