Former Information Minister and Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Nasarawa state, Mr Labaran Maku, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to jettison the use of the card reader for the governorship elections slated for April 11.
He gave the advice while fielding questions from journalists on Saturday shortly after casting his ballot at Wakama Clinic Polling Unit, Nassarawa-Eggon Local Government Area of the state.
“My call on INEC to drop the use of the card reader machine is due to failure of the machine already recorded in the ongoing presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Card reader machine has turned out to be a factor frustrating millions of Nigerians who came out as early as 7 a.m. in all polling units across the country”, he said.
The ex-minister noted that at his polling unit, voters who arrived at about 7 a.m. for accreditation were still stranded at 3 p.m., waiting for the exercise to commence.
Voters were denied accreditation after waiting from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on account that card readers have been programmed to stop accreditation at 1.30 p.m, he added.
According to the APGA flag bearer, it was when voters in the polling unit agitated and wanted to resist the process that INEC officials resorted to manual method of accreditation.
“How would INEC programme the card reader machine to stop accreditation by 1.30 p.m. when the real election situation is not considered?” he queried.
“The electoral guideline stipulates that even if it is time to stop accreditation, all voters already in the queue must be accredited”, he added.
Maku pointed out that while the INEC innovation could be described as good and a value addition to the electoral process, it should not be used until 2019.
He, therefore, suggested that INEC should first experiment the card readers in bye-elections that might come up after ongoing general elections to ensure its effectiveness in real election situation.