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Group faults INEC’s mock poll


THE recently concluded test run of the card-reading machine for the forthcoming general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in 12 states of the federation has been described as grossly inadequate exercise incapable of ensuring a free, fair and hitch-free elections.

   A statement on the electoral empire’s preparedness to conduct the March 28 general elections signed by the National Coordinator, Good Governance Initiative (GGI), Dr. Harruna Shettima made available to The Guardian said that the mock exercise was below average, characterized by several reports of flaws incongruous with the present democratic dispensation. 

   He said though conducting the mock election exercise prior to the general elections proper was laudable, it nonetheless exposed the underbellies of an institution that was ill-prepared, using an apparatus that would disenfranchise millions of Nigerians at polling booths.   

   According to him, “Conducting the mock election in about 33% of the country ahead of the general elections is a welcome development, but unfortunately, it has succeeded in exposing the inadequacies of the card readers and the electoral body to ensure that every voter who turns up to exercise their voting right on March 28 and subsequent weeks would be properly enfranchised as the machines failed in more than 40% of the areas captured for the exercise.”

   Shettima said the exercise failed to live up to the billing of all who had considered it as the main panacea for a credible election as the card readers failed in numerous locations to recognize the thumbprints of a large number of register voters especially in some major cities in the north, informing that these shortcomings were already attested to by resident electoral commissioners of the affected areas.

   “Prof. Attahiru Jega should not lead us to a cul-de-sac. He should say it as it is so that we all can rally round him to assist for the betterment of the nation. He should stop exaggerating his commission’s capabilities and readiness to conduct credible, free and fair elections. The facts are in the open and the Prof. should not be ashamed to ask for more time beyond the March 8 deadline for the collection of the PVCs because it has become an open secret that some states are still lagging behind in the distribution of the PVCs, while some have the PVCs in large number still uncollected as result of inadequate sensitization and faulty distribution strategies by INEC.”

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