From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
For there to be free and fair elections in both Osun and Ekiti states, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately commence the process that will lead to the use of the e-card reader.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said using the simple but fool proof device for the Ekiti gubernatorial polls next month and that of Osun in August will make it possible for INEC to fine-tune its deployment on a nationwide scale for the 2015 general elections.
It said INEC must stop trying to justify why it could not use the e-card reader to verify the permanent voter cards which the Commission has spent time and money to develop and given to all registered voters, in an effort to ensure the transparency and credibility of its elections.
‘’Contrary to what INEC has said, the e-card reader is very adaptable, and its application is not subject to any environmental peculiarity once the basics of operations are met. It is therefore surprising to read INEC’s claim that the sensitivity of the elections in Ekiti and Osun will not recommend the use of the card reader,’’ APC said.
The party said the most compelling reason for the use of e-card reader by INEC is that it will eliminate the rigging of elections through the use of stolen or purchased voter cards, and ensure that only those with authentic voter cards are allowed to cast their votes on election day.
‘’Impersonation, multiple voting and endless altercations and associated tension will be eliminated at the voting centres with the use of e-card reader and not by any other means.Also, the e-card reader will ensure the automatic recording of all accredited voters with verified permanent voter’s cards in such a way that does not lend itself to manipulation, thus preventing the falsification of results at the collation centres,’’ it said.
APC said since the physical examinations of the permanent voter cards alone cannot reveal or decode the content of the chips embedded in the card containing the biometric data of each potential voter, there is no other fool-proof means to authenticate the cards beyond using e-card reader.
Saying e-card reader is not rocket science, the party explained that all the device does is to ensure that the bearer is the authentic owner of the permanent voter card with him/her by matching the bio-metric data, particularly the thumb print, with that of the bearer.