Jega disowns anti-card reader directive in Rivers, others

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not change its directive on the use of card reader for the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections, its chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said yesterday..

Jega, who spoke during a post 2015 general election assessment retreat for resident electoral commissioners in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, said it was only during the Presidential election that the commission instructed states that wherever there was evidence of card readers failure they should revert to manual accreditation.

The retreat’s theme: “2015 General Elections: Lessons and way forward.”

There was manual accreditation in some states, including Rivers and Akwa Ibom.

The chairman, who said no elections had ever been perfect, insisted that the last general elections were highly successful.

Jega said: “If you recall there was at least an interval of two weeks between the presidential and governorship elections; we studied everything that was a problem with the card readers within those two weeks and rectified them.

“We were absolutely sure that for the governorship election card readers would not be a problem. That was why for the governorship election we instructed that the card readers must be used.

“And so, if there is evidence of any place where they just put aside the card readers and use manual accreditation, that election can be examined; I am sure the tribunal will look at the evidence clearly as to what happened.

“As far as I know, the commission did not change that directive: so card readers must be used, and there were places where card readers were not used for the governorship election, then people were entitled to produce evidence for that so that the commission could take necessary actions.

“What we meant by card readers must be used is that we did not expect that in any polling unit, people will say card readers were not functioning, people would say we were going to use manual accreditation, no; because we said if a card reader failed, come back the following day, we would replace the card readers for the election to take place. As far as I know, virtually in all the places, where the card readers actually failed, we came back the following day and did the elections.

“We have repeatedly said that the elections were not perfect, and no elections have ever been perfect, but the last general elections were highly successful, but we are doing this retreat in order to assess what we did so that we can continue to improve, because there is still room for improvement.

“I am happy about what we had done, and of course, I am bowing out because my tenure has expired. We all have tenures, and once our tenure expires, we all leave and other persons will come.

“So, we are happy that we had been given the opportunities to do 2011 and 2015 general elections, and we are also happy that the outcome had been generally commendable. We hope the next commission will keep on doing a better job than what we had done.”

The post Jega disowns anti-card reader directive in Rivers, others appeared first on The Nation.

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