…Insists on card Reader
Embattled Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has declared that the commission has produced 67 million permanent voter’s card (PVCs) as against the 68.8 million registered voters and was ready for the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The chief electoral umpire while making this disclosure in a televised interactive Town Hall meeting in Abuja on Monday, March 16 insisted there was no cause for alarm over the remaining PVCs as they would be ready for collection before the polls.
Jega argued that the public outcries over the delay in the production of PVCs and complains of disenfranchisement were unwarranted as the window for collection of voter’s cards were still open to eligible citizens. His words: “If by 28th of this month (March), the 700,000 permanent voters cards have not been produced, then INEC can say we have disenfranchised voters.”
On the fears over the possibility of using clone cards to rig the elections, Jega promised that the card reader would reject such cards. “Nigerians should be confident that cloned cards cannot be used. The card readers will not read cloned cards.”
The INEC boss equally declared that soldiers will not be posted to polling units during the 2015 elections but would be invited to any location that experiences breakdown of law and order. “There will be no soldiers at the polling units. The army is not supposed to be visible at any polling unit. What we have is three unarmed policemen manning a poling unit while three armed policemen stay 300 meters away from the polling unit,” Jega explained.
He also confirmed that INEC will use card readers’ machine for the conduct of the 2015 general elections, despite complaints from certain stakeholders. “If we do not use the card readers, we will lose in many fundamental respects,” he said.
According to INEC Director of ICT, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, the card reader machine has strong battery and other components that would enable it withstand the rigours of the election in remote places. “When you use the card reader without charging it, it gives 74 percent; but if you charge it fully before using, it gives you 100 percent,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche