by Azubuike Azikiwe
The Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum has expressed its reservation towards the use of card readers for the March 28 and April 11 general elections.
The governors of the ruling party, who met in Lagos on Tuesday, March 10, also criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission and its chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, over its handling of the distribution of the permanent voters cards.
Akpabio, who is the chairman of the PDP governors forum, stated that INEC is not prepared for the elections and also gave reasons why card readers should not be used.
Here are 5 of them:
1. “Surprisingly, in our own opinion, INEC appears ill-prepared for the 2015 elections. For example, at the time the polls were shifted due to security concerns, over 23 million registered voters had yet to collect their PVCs and you know there are some countries with populations of about just three million.
2. “Twenty-three million would amount to disenfranchising more than five West African countries in their own elections. It will be recalled that even the INEC chairman(Prof. Attahiru Jega) admitted on the floor of the Senate that over one million PVCs had yet to be printed in far away China.
3. “According to the INEC chairman, the postponement was a blessing in disguise. How then can Nigerians reconcile the purported readiness of INEC for the February 14 election with the testing of card readers more than a month after the postponement? More than three weeks after the elections have been shifted, they are then testing the card readers that would have been used. Given the failure rate of the card readers during the recent mock exercise, it is apparent that many Nigerians will be disenfranchised even when they are registered to vote.”
4. “We re-assert that on no account should any registered voter be disenfranchised for non-possession of PVC even when the person has a TVC when it is not due to one’s own personal fault; even when the card reader has rejected or refused to recognise the thumbprint or the battery is dead and there is no electricity in that area to charge it.”
5. “We don’t want anyone disenfranchised and we are pleading also that elections should not be shifted again because the impression is that we were not ready for elections even though we know that we would have won the elections if they had been allowed to hold.”