Elections: 15 Political parties threatens boycott over card reader use.

Elections: 15 Political parties threatens boycott over card reader use.

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About fifteen political parties and five
presidential candidates participating in the
forth coming elections, has threatens to boycott the March 28 and April 11 general elections, over the proposed use of card readers in
accrediting voters by the Independent
National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The aggrieved parties and candidates, said
the use of the electronic devices would not
only be against the 1999 Constitution but
also
the
2010
Electoral Act (As amended) which
proscribed electronic voting in the country.

They, therefore, threatened not to
participate in the elections if the INEC
insists on using card readers, saying they
“observed some obvious but dangerous
developments in the proposed use of card
readers” by the commission for the conduct
of the elections.

At a press conference in Abuja, the parties
and candidates, speaking through
spokesperson and Acting National
Chairman of Advanced Congress of
Democrats, ACD, Dr Onwubuya Breakforth,
said “these important observation, if not
well considered by the commission, has the
propensity to derail the 2015 polls.”

Reading a prepared text to newsmen, Dr
Breakforth, said: “The card reader is a device
which is susceptible to manipulations to
favour particular candidates and in the
process, disenfranchise many registered
Nigerian voters or potential election
winners.”

He added: “The concept of using card
readers for these 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 first drawback is that this device is
relatively a new technology that has not
been tested or tried in a kind of mock
election or previous formal elections prior
to this time. This 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.

“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 noted that if the card reader should
develop some technical problems, there
was a possibility that the consequences of
such development would affect about forty
fifty percent of the polling booths
nationwide.

“Because of the tendency of the card reader
device to develop some technical fault any
time during the voters accreditation
process, that was the reason why all the
political parties agreed with INEC recently,
that the election should be postponed in
polling booths where a substantial number
of card reader defaults were recorded
because it would disrupt the entire election
process. That goes to show that the card
reader cannot be fully trusted for the
conduct of the election.

“The case of Senators Chris Ngige and
Enyinnaya Abaribe, whose bonafide voters
cards were not captured by the card reader
device was a clear case of the technical fault
which the card reader is susceptible to,”he
added.

He stressed that the card reader was already
programmed for particular polling booths
and the device was supposed to be used for
that particular polling unit which it was
programmed, regretting that so far, that
has not been the case.”

Three of the political parties leaders who
signed the statement on behalf of the
parties include, the national chairman of
the MEGA Progressive Peoples Party, MPPP,
Prince Dare Falade, presidential candidate,
Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN, Prince Dr
Kelvin Chinedu Opumu Alagoa, Alliance for
Democracy, AD, Dr. Rafiu Salau.

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