Card Reader Vs Incidence Form,Which One? By Oby Ndukwe

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Prior the Presidential and National Assembly elections of March 28, the Independent National
Electoral Commission, INEC, had through its Guidelines for the 2015 elections instructed on the use of the Card Reader, an electronic device for use in the accreditation of voters for the elections.
But the problems encountered during that election, particularly, its failure to recognise the finger prints of former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, the Commission’s Chairman then, Prof. Attahiru Jega was compelled to relax the rules regarding the use of the CR device. He allowed for the use of incident forms or manual accreditation.
That of course came as a sigh of relief for the PDP as their earlier attempts to stop it’s enforcement was truncated by the Court which certified that INEC was constitutionally bound to use the CR for accreditation as that does not amount to electronic voting which is contrary to our constitution via the electoral Act.


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The relaxation of that rule of course became an advantage for the parties to engage in electoral malpractice. In Rivers state, the PDP aided by the federal might through the security agencies and INEC embarked on what is now a primitive and stupid type of rigging as was obtainable in the past. It was in a bid to ensure that Jonathan won in his immediate constituency, the South South zone and Rivers state in particular. The state had in the past recorded 98 per cent or more of the total votes cast for the PDP, right from the days of Peter Odili.
Two weeks after, INEC in a bid to ensure that rigging was reduced to the barest minimum decided to correct the anomalies and the malfunction of the CRs nationwide. Jega through the Secretary of the Commission, Augusta Ogakwu had through a formal letter to Nigerians, dated Apri 2nd, 2015, reassured that for the Governorship and State Assembly elections, the Card Reader would be the only means of accreditation. Where it fails, elections would be shifted till the next day. Jega went ahead to say that the frustrations as a result of the failure of the Card Readers during the first elections had bern resolved. The electoral body made no provisions for the large scale use of incident forms for manual accreditation.
But those who had massively rigged the first elections failed to realise that though it was the same INEC, but the rules were now enforced! From RELAXATION of rules to ENFORCEMENT of rules.
The master riggers were stock to their old style of winning. They were unintelligent and mostly educated illetrates.
While they sought to compliment their earlier feat in allocating figures to their party, they were too blinded by their zeal to deliver and then be compensated by virtue of appointments and contracts. Their zeal was not rooted in knowledge!!
In spite of being declared winner with about 1.2 million votes, Nyesom Wke and his party may have been fooled by the cash thirsty officials of INEC who merely wanted a taste of the pudding.
The officials who allocated these highly inflated figures to him and his party candidates are finding it difficult to reconcile what they declared with what the Election Monitoring Room of INEC, known as the Central Server, actually captured. It’s another mathematical case that may require an unborn Chike Obi to solve, where 1.5million acclaimed voters is bigger than 273,000 accredited voters in Register.


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Worse still, those who were in collusion with Wike and his PDP to manipulate the figures are unable to defend their immoral and illegal actions.
The Akwa Ibom Election Petition Tribunal refused to admit the incident forms as exhibits. INEC was ordered to remove the bags of evidence since they were not admissible.
In any case, assuming without conceding that incident forms were used in cases where the Card Reader failed, two pertinent questions need to be answered here:-
1. Is it justifiable that the number of voters manually accredited should be higher than those accredited through the Card Reader on the first day of the election?
2. How many LGAs had their elections rescheduled to the next day due to failure of the Card Reader?
Taking the testimony of the Electoral Officer for Obio/Akpor LGA today in the witness box, the total number of voters for Obio/Akpor was 370, 345. The Card Reader recorded only 40,000plus. And if elections held on the first day with only wards 12 and 13 rescheduled for the next day, how then were the cases of incident forms astronaumically higher in two wards when compared to 15 wards that supposedly held elections on the first day?
It is obvious that the EO failed to cover up his tracks when he faced counsel for Dakuku, Chief Akin Olunjmi.


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He denied having a knowledge of the Card Reader instructions of the commission. Again, that’s outright perjury which has a definite penalty under our laws. How many of such officers of INEC would be willing to testify to this crudity cum impunity, all for the sake of money?
Integrity had truly been sacrificed on the altar of impunity.
For those who are willing like Gezila khan to sacrifice their years of service for Wike, they must be reminded that there is a new order in Nigeria, with a new Sheriff waiting to enforce the 1999 Constitution to the letter!

Oby Ndukwe is the Publisher of THE BEAM MAGAZINE


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