PDP Govs Discredit Card Readers, Question INEC’s preparedness For Polls

PDP-Governors-ForumThe Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDPGF) has kicked against the use of card readers for the forthcoming elections.

The governors also condemned the Prof. Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over its preparedness for the elections.

The governors made their position known at an interactive forum with the media and civil society organisations themed ‘Sustenance of Democratic Values and National Development’ in Lagos on Tuesday.

The governors at the forum were: Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Aliyu Babangida (Niger), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Bala Ngilari (Adamawa), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo).

Others at the forum were: Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Mukhtar Yero (Kaduna) and Ibrahim Danwambo (Gombe).

The interactive forum in Lagos has been viewed as a bold statement by the PDPGF, which usually holds its meetings in Abuja or PDP states, to take the battle to the All Progressives Congress stronghold.

Speaking at the forum, Akpabio who is the chairman of the PDPGF, said Lagos was chosen because it is the headquarters of the media and activism.

He said Lagos had been plagued by the propaganda of the APC and the PDP wanted to showcase its achievements.

He also said the postponement of the elections were justifiable.

Although the governors did not advocate for the use of Temporary Voter Cards, they argued that people who do not have PVCs, should be allowed to vote.

Akpabio said Nigerians should be grateful to the PDP for ensuring that Nigeria had the longest span of democracy (16 years).

He said, “The continued quest of the PDP-led Federal Government for free, fair and credible elections are witnessed in Jonathan’s robust support through adequate and sustained funding and indeed the free hand given to INEC to operate.

“But surprisingly, in our own opinion, INEC appears ill-prepared for the 2015 elections. For example, at the time the polls were shifted due to security concerns, over 23 million registered voters had yet to collect their PVCs and you know there are some countries with populations of about just three million.

“Twenty-three million would amount to disenfranchising more than five West African countries in their own elections.

“It would be recalled that even the INEC chairman admitted on the floor of the Senate that over one million PVCs had yet to be printed in faraway China. According to the INEC chairman, the postponement was a blessing in disguise. How then can Nigerians reconcile the purported readiness of INEC for the February 14 election with the testing of card readers more than a month after the postponement? More than three weeks after the elections have been shifted they are then testing the card readers that would have been used. Given the failure rate of the card readers during the recent mock exercise, it is apparent that many Nigerians will be disenfranchised even when they are registered to vote”.

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