Card reader will curb electoral fraud, says REC

• Stolen PVCs to be returned in Edo

THE outgoing Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Kogi State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, who conducted the governorship election in Osun State last year, ‎has assured Nigerians that the card reader will render all stolen PVCs useless.

   Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State said it has received about 137,000 card readers ahead the general elections, which the state REC, Mike Igini reassured Nigerians would put a check on electoral malpractice and aid credible polls.

   Agbaje, who has been redeployed to Ondo State said the card reader is an innovation aimed at reducing electoral malpractices.

   Agbaje, who reiterated INEC’s readiness for the February 14 general elections allayed the fears of Nigerians. 

   “INEC under Professor Attahiru Jega is seriously committed to having a very peaceful election that everybody is going to be proud of and that is why a lot of things have been put in place starting with permanent voters card distribution and card readers that we are going to use during the election. 

   “So, Nigerians, politicians and voters should just have the mindset that everything will go well, they don’t need to be apprehensive at all. INEC is very prepared and ready for this election and I believe with what the national headquarters is doing everybody would be happy at the end of the day.”

   Speaking in Benin City, Edo State capital Tuesday during a stakeholders meeting, Igini reassured Nigerians that the card readers introduced by the commission would put a check on electoral malpractice and aid credible polls.

   Meanwhile the police during the meeting warned politicians in the state that security agencies would not tolerate an act of violence or disruption of the election.

   Igini expressed concern that over 4,658 eligible voters in the state had been disenfranchised due to the theft of their Permanent Voters Cards by suspected hoodlums during the distribution exercise last November.

   He, however, said he received an anonymous call indicating interest to return the stolen cards. About 4,658 PVCs were stolen in nine local councils of the state.

   He spoke while showing reporters thousands of unclaimed PVCs in the state.

   Igini explained that while it was possible for some politicians to snatch voters cards in the past, the card readers were capable of identifying the real owners of the card and prevent foreigners from participating in the elections.‎

   “With the card readers that we are bringing for this 2015 elections, there is nothing that you (politicians) can do; not even the umpire (INEC) can help you. There shall be no help from Macedonia. Your fate lies in the electorate because we have returned everybody to the electorate.

   “For those who are saying that the card reader will not come, let me inform you, we have a total of 120,000 polling units in Nigeria. As I speak to you, we have received well over 137,000 card readers and on or before Saturday, the card readers for Edo State will start arriving.”

On the magic wand for his success in the Osun Governorship election last year he said‎ they delivered because in the first place the chairman and the other members of the commission trusted in their ability to perform. 

“Secondly the staff of INEC in Osun State and other staff from the federation that came to assist us were determined to ensure INEC made an impact that‎ everyone was proud of not just Segun Agbaje but INEC as a commission and because the commission was fully behind us.”

He restated the fact that INEC alone cannot conduct the election but rather the people that were going to vote and that the votes they cast would be made to count.

Continuing he said that nobody was going to bring any other votes from anywhere, nobody will declare any result other than the one declared at the polling units. 

 He said results would be pasted on the board and on the wall at particular centers so political parties that are serious have agents all over and so before even declaration of results they would know.

He said from the polling unit they would move to the ward level, from Ward to move to Local Government and from there to the State. “Before we reach the Local Government serious political parties should have known the results so there is no way any other person could manipulate results.

He said it was the same method he adopted during the election of Osun State where he assured them that it would be conducted by the people of Osun State adding that INEC was only to midwife it or to manage the system but the people were to vote. 

“We do the accreditation and declare figure of accredited voters. If the figure is 250 and at the end of voting you have 270 then that voting would be cancelled because it means something has gone wrong but it can be less may be out of 250 we can have 240 that would be understandable maybe some people just walked away and did not come back.”

There is no way after you have counted everything, you would be getting surplus then it means something is fishy. So we told people that this is what we were going to do and we made sure that was what we did

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