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PDP chieftain prays court to stop use of card readers

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A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Chief Waliu Taiwo, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos praying the court to stop the use of Electronic Card Readers during the general elections. 

In the suit marked as FHC/C/CS/296/15, the applicant is seeking an order restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from using the card readers during the polls. He also joined the Attorney-General of the Federation Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) as the second defendant. 

A candidate for the Ogun West Senatorial District, the applicant claimed that INEC’s guidelines which stipulated the use of card readers is unconstitutional and should be nullified. 

He particularly faulted section 12 (c) of the guidelines which states that “in the event that the PVC fails to be read by the Card Reader, the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO), shall file a report of the incident; inform the voter of the problem and that he/she cannot be accredited; and politely request the voter to leave the polling zone.”

The plaintiff said this is the first time anywhere in the world where a device such as the Card Reader as proposed to be used by INEC would be used to the effect that it supercedes the content of the register of voters properly compiled by the electoral body.

In a motion on notice filed through his counsel, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, the plaintiff is seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining INEC or its agents from proceeding with its proposed plan to use the card readers for the purpose of determining those who can vote. 

He also wants an order directing the commission to comply with the Electoral Act 2010 and the 1999 Constitution by relying only on the voters register and identifying voters with their voter cards. 

Taiwo also wants the court to nullify Sections 7 (a/b), 8, 10, 12 and 13 of the INEC guidelines which stipulate the use of card readers to determine those who can vote.

The plaintiff wants the orders, when made, to subsist pending the hearing and determination of his originating summons.

In the originating summons, the plaintiff is asking for a declaration that (in the light of a community reading of sections 77 (2), 117 (2), 132 (5) and 178 (5) of the 1999 Constitution, along with sections 9 (1), 46 (1)(b), 49, 52 (2) of the Electoral Act, 2011), INEC guidelines which stipulate the use of electronic card readers for the purpose of determining the entitlement of persons (with voter’s cards whose names are on the register of voters) to exercise their right to vote in the 2015 general elections, are unconstitutional, ultra vires, null, void and a recipe for creating confusion and political instability during or in the aftermath of the general elections among other prayers. The matter is yet to be assigned to a judge.



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