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Election 2015: Nigerian President quits voting station after tech glitch


President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan turned up Saturday to accredit himself and his wife Patience for his re-election bid but problems with new voting technology forced him to temporarily abandon his plans.

The incumbent leader, who is seeking a second term in office, arrived at his hometown polling station of Otuoke in southern Bayelsa state at about 0820 GMT to begin the accreditation process.

But handheld technology being used for the first time to “read” biometric voter identity cards apparently malfunctioned, forcing Jonathan to stand around in the scorching heat before leaving.

The 57-year-old, whose ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has raised concerns about the technology and election officials’ ability to use it, acknowledged that “there may be an issue”.

But he joked, “Maybe it’s me?” while calling for patience.

“If I can endure, you see my sweat? I plead with all Nigerians to be patient, no matter the pains we take,” he told reporters outside the polling station.

“It’s the first time we are using this technology, PVC (Permanent Voters Card), card readers,” he said, adding that he was “not worried”, despite reports of difficulties in other states across the country.

Jonathan later returned and was accredited using the old manual system.

“Because it’s new, anything new must have its challenges,” he said, adding that he would return again once voting proper gets under way from about 1230 GMT.

The main opposition candidate for the presidency Muhammadu Buhari, whose party backs the technology, had no problem getting accredited in his hometown of Daura, in northern Katsina state.

But one polling station in Abuja suffered major delays, with the readers struggling to confirm voters’ fingerprints, an AFP reporter said.

There were also problems in the north’s biggest city of Kano, where tensions rose among thousands of voters who had been waiting for both election officials and materials to turn up.

“We’ve been here since six o’clock and now it’s half-past nine,” fumed Ismail Omar, a 65-year-old builder. “No one has shown up from INEC (the Independent National Electoral Commission).

“They told us accreditation will start at eight then end at one, and so far we think something is fishy. This is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the elections.”

Another voter, Mohammed Awwal, added: “We don’t want to fight anyone but are ready to die to defend our rights.

“This is our fundamental right that is being denied for whatever reason. We will not leave here until we are accredited and then allowed to vote.”

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  • David Egbeama

    Need we say more?? So much for Jega’s untested voting technology

    • Kentus

      PDP approved the purchase in the first place. They spent huge sums of money including kick backs. Why the fuss now?

  • Ehi Ehinomhen

    The card reader should not have been used in this election. Too many issues with it today.

  • Ralf

    Card readers r junks used to rig election by Jega n northern cabals. ..The whole SE voters has bn waiting for hrs to b accredited. .Card readers are not working at all in SE…

    • Rainbow

      SE is the only place the card readers would not work for obvious reasons…… Never again will GEJ preside over our dear country Nigeria. One-way ticket to Otuoke.
      Change is here.
      God bless Nigeria

    • Aminu Halilu

      Rigging is the master mind of the ruling party(PDP) which has proved it self from the previous with100 ways of rigging election.

  • Gregor M

    Sensing the impending defeat, this is a clandestine maneuver by the PDP to discredit the poll. The card readers is gonna add credibility to the election

    • dan

      Be sensible in your comments! Was it the president that could not accredit himself or the card reader malfunctioned?

  • Janet Kerubo

    I am really impressed by the way H.E. Goodluck Jonathan has handled the technological glitch. He has truly demonstrated statesmanship that is indeed rare in Africa. Kudos Mr. President

  • obby girl

    People should emulate GEJ for his patience. Not gragra which does not pay.

    • Adonuja Salihu M.D

      He has no option than patiance, if GMB can vote without card reader hitch why not GEJ. God knows there hidden agender, as he is given symparthy vote and he think he can use the office to destroy Nigeria God almighty is already at work. I advise not to do more than chew otherwise.

  • NigerDeltaWatch

    Thank GOD for a President like Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at this time of Nigeria’s democracy.
    We are also thanking GOD for your Victory once more over Evil plots against our beloved Nation.

    GOD bless Nigeria!

  • ade

    lets be patient, its easy to criticize.

  • Let’s thank God, Buhari voted hitch-free. If what happened to Jonathan had happened to Buhari, he and Lie Mohammed would have unleashed their venomous rants.