23rd February, 2015
The announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, a few days ago that it had procured about 20,000 backup card readers and 35,000 backup batteries as part of measures to tackle possible challenges during the accreditation and election exercise scheduled to hold on March 28 and April 11 was a big relief.
About 172,000 card readers have now been procured by INEC for about 150,000 polling units nationwide. The card readers would be used only for the accreditation of voters which lasts five hours while the design of the card reader is such that the battery, when in continuous use, would last 12 hours.
Despite that, INEC has acquired about 35,000 spare batteries to prevent any eventuality. INEC has also done integrity tests, several of which were carried out in Texas, USA. The tests showed that the card readers do not fail easily and that they are of the highest quality.
It is our opinion that with all these measures put in place, using card readers for accreditation is the best option for Nigeria. We disagree with those who want us to return to manual accreditation as such accreditation are always riddled with big human errors and paves way for the manipulation of the electoral process with the ultimate aim of rigging.
Using card readers will give us a clear idea about how many people were accredited in each polling unit. We believe it is a big step in the right direction. Those who are fiercely opposed to the use of card readers are enemies of this country who do not want a free, fair and credible election.
All the noise about the use of card readers is coming from those who do not want this nation to attain a measure of success in the conduct of elections. It is diversionary and should be ignored. It is wrong to say that the use of card readers for the accreditation of voters amounts to deployment of electronic gadgets for the conduct of elections.
Can’t Nigerians for once set aside their selfish interest and allow a transparent elctoral process work in this country? Those who have gone to court to stop the use of card readers have sinister motive and must not be allowed to have their way at the expense of the majority of Nigerian electorate who want their votes to count.