Presidency, PDP reject card reader for election

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode

There were indications that the Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party were already commencing tactics aimed at frustrating the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to make use of card readers for the 2015 elections.

Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja on Monday and Tuesday, indicated that the ruling party and the Presidency were already looking at the possibility of mobilising Nigerians to demand that the use of card readers for the election be stopped.

This is coming as a former National Chairman of the ruling party, who is now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said there were signs that the PDP was not interested in holding the elections.

Rather, Ogbeh said, the party was still hell-bent on foisting interim government on Nigeria.

A source in the Presidency, who spoke on condition of anonymity with our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, said that both the Presidency and some members of the National Working Committee of the party had been asked to continue to either condemn the use of the card readers for the elections or also that the commission be told to allow Nigerians to use the Temporary Voter Card instead of the Permanent Voter Card for the election.

He said, “We are not comfortable with the card readers. For example, we have not seen any and we don’t know how it works.

“What will happen if the card readers fail to work? We have not even been told that they would not fail. And if they fail, what would happen. I think the issue of card readers must be re-examined.”

The commission had said that it would introduce card readers for voters’ accreditation in order to verify the rightful owners of PVCs.

It said that the device would eliminate impersonation and voting by proxy during the elections.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Amadi Ali, on Monday criticised the electoral commission for the postponed elections.

He said the electoral body was not fully ready for the polls.

Ali, who spoke at a press conference which was also attended by the Director of Media and Publicity of the organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, also criticised the use of card readers for the elections.

He said, “There are also reports that the PVC readers are not fully distributed and tested. How can INEC handle cases of faulty card readers?

“Do they have a credible plan B in situation where voters line up and the card readers refuse to work? Ballot boxes are reportedly inadequate. Adequate training of INEC’s members of staff for the election had not been concluded and other problems facing INEC.

“Quite clearly the shift in election date is meant to save INEC from monumental embarrassment. I would like to reiterate that the PDP is ready for the election any day.”

But Ogbeh in a statement, insisted that the PDP was not ready for the elections and advised Nigerians to reject any call for the installation of ING by the government.

He said that the letter sent to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, by the National Security Adviser, Col. Dansuki Sambo (retd.), in which he asked for elections postponement by six weeks must be properly digested by Nigerians.

Ogbeh said, “Does this not suggest that we should expect high level theatric manipulation as the six weeks get closer to convince us that another six weeks will be necessary?

“Isn’t this a ploy to ensure we enter May 29 without an election on the grounds of a nationwide instability? Doesn’t this then give credence to the rumours, and indeed, the declaration in a rowdy press conference four days ago by Dr. Doyin Okupe that they have no intention of handing over to Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)?

“Isn’t this leading to the strongly rumoured Interim National Government? It is time for all Nigerians to take heed that there is a stormy and dark clouds ahead.”

He said that Nigeria had been reduced to children’s playground where individuals and groups presumed that they could name on their own without recourse to the constitution and the slightest respect for the 170 million Nigerians.

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