Concerned leaders of seven political parties and five presidential candidates have called on the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, not to use the proposed Card Readers during the forthcoming elections, saying it would disenfranchise millions of eligible voters.
The political parties are Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), MEGA Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), Peoples Party of Nigeria, (PPN), Alliance for Democracy (AD), African Democratic Party (ADP), Citizens Popular Party (CPP) and Social Democratic Party of Nigeria (SDPN).
They said the concept of using card readers for this coming elections as being planned by INEC, has a lot of implications which may negatively impact on the conduct of a credible, free and fair elections on March 28 and April 11.
The Chairman of Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Dr Onwubuya Breakforth who spoke on behalf of the political parties at a world press conference in Abuja yesterday, themed ‘Controversial INEC Card Reader for the 2015 election’, said that the first drawback, is that the device is relatively a new technology that has not been tested or tried in a kind of mock election or previous formal elections prio to this time.
According to him, it would have enabled the nation and the electoral umpire itself, to properly ascertain its workability and efficiency in the conduct of the real general elections, that the decision by INEC to commence the test-run of the use of Card Readers in some of select states across the country on Saturday March 7, 2015, just less than three weeks to the commencement of the re-scheduled election, would not provide the Commission enough time to rectify whatever anomaly that would likely arise from that exercise.
He said, “Moreover, if the card reader should develop some technical problems, there is a possibility that the consequences of such development would affect about 40 or 50 percent of the polling booths nationwide.