Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has expressed concern over the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) decision to use card readers in the conduct of the forthcoming general elections.
The Governor expressed the fear that should the card readers fail and or many people are unable to vote because of inability to collect their permanent voters’ cards, there would be confusion and a serious challenge for the country.
Speaking when the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr. Michel Arrion paid him a courtesy visit in Asaba, he said that he had nothing against the use of the card readers but that it must be well tested to ensure that nothing goes wrong on Election Day.
“Delta state has 40% of what we call difficult areas to reach areas, meaning water and swamp and right now we know that INEC is in the process of using card readers and PVCs. We are not against the card readers but we also do not want it to be used in such a way that our people will not be happy at the end of the day. We think that enough underground work has not been done yet on the use of the card readers”, he stated.
He argued that the electorate has to be properly sensitized and mobilized to ensure that they are carried along and that there were no hitches with the elections.
Besides, Dr. Uduaghan noted that though there has been noticeable improvement, the issue of permanent voters’ card was yet to be fully resolved.
According to him, it has become obvious now that if the elections had held on February 14, Nigeria would have been faced with serious challenges which may have resulted in confusion and chaos.
He said that the postponement of the elections from February 14 saved Nigeria from embarrassment and crisis as it was obvious that the INEC had not carried out enough enlightenment campaign on the use of the card reader and urged the European Union in particular to work with the INEC for successful general elections.
“Our people need to be better educated on the use of the card readers if not it will turn out to be a mess. I can comfortably say that if that election on February 14th was held, Nigeria would have been in confusion. It is obvious from what we can see because we still have the challenge of people going to collect their permanent voters’ card”, he added.
The Governor enjoined the EU to come to the aid of INEC so that the technical issues surrounding the card readers and permanent voters’ cards are resolved effectively.