By Frank Ofili
Phew! Just back from Ejigbo High School, a voter registration centre, where I went to confirm an allegation of money-for-registration that I have heard twice now.
Spent close to 2 hours there chatting some people and slipping in questions aimed at eliciting confirmation, or lack of it, of the allegation.
At the end of the day, it remains an allegation, probably a lie too. Not one person agreed money exchanges hand before registration.
May be those I spoke to were circumspect, or wary of me. Probably thought I was under-cover agent, who knows. What with my very low cut which easily gives me away as someone probably from one of the security services.
Come to think of it, some police officials have had occasion to salute me sharply with a corresponding “all correct sir”
But I digress. Back to the crux of the post. Honestly, I can’t pretend all is well with the registration of voters exercise. At Ejigbo High School, there are over 2000 people waiting to be registered. Some people I spoke with told me they have been coming every day for the past one week and it isn’t yet their turn to be registered.
Clearly, the process is damned too slow and unorganized. If you are a salary earner or business man or woman, you must be extraordinarily imbued with the spirit of patriotism to be able to wait it out even if you take the day off for the exercise.
What am I saying in effect? Two things. The first is that majority of those waiting to register must either be unemployed and have nothing better to occupy their time or are on leave from work or business or on holiday from school. Some of them are even taking selfies while waiting in the scotching sun. And appear to be enjoying it too.
Two, the extremely slow process can actually lead to corruption. With the mammoth crowd, there is nothing to stop a man in a hurry from offering cash to facilitate his registration. Even the presence of a soldier may not be able to stop it.
In the end, I’m left wondering why this exercise should be so slow in spite of the technology that has been introduced to make it easier, better and more credible.
Next week I would visit another centre in continuation of my investigation. I intend to visit at least five centres before calling it quits. Anything to help our government.