Amidst the furor over the plan by the Nigeria Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use card reader in the March 28 and April 11 general elections in the country, the Commission’s chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega has vowed to go ahead to use the card reader and asked those who have contrary view to challenge it in the court of law.
“Nothing in the constitution says we should not use electronic device in the process of accreditation. Anybody that is not satisfied can go to court. We have solid ground on that,” he said.
Professor Jega spoke today when he was virtually grilled by Senators at a special sitting at the National Assembly.
He made it clear that INEC will go ahead with its plan to deploy card readers for the elections, adding that the card readers would only be used for accreditation not actual voting.
He emphasized that there is no law that forbid the use of electronic devices for accreditation.
“Card reader is used for accreditation not voting. Voting is defined as dropping of ballot paper into ballot box. Accreditation is essential for integrity of the election.”
According to Professor Jega, the card readers would curb electoral malpractices, as cloned cards would be detected.
He however promised that INEC will perform a mock test on the card readers even as he said that some tests had already been taken in the United States, and will now be tested in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
“The card reader has passed in all the 13 test categories conducted in terms of its durability and versatility.”
There have been some concerns, mainly from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) about the plan by INEC to use the card readers for the election as Nigerian law prohibits electronic voting.
On the postponement of the elections, Professor Jega said that it will enable INEC to have flawless, near-perfect elections, adding that the commission will meet with the heads of departments and directorates of units to conduct a comprehensive assessment, to figure out additional things to be done before March 28.
Professor Jega said that a meeting with the inter-agency committee on security will hold a meeting to discuss security on the Election Day. [myad]