Our fears about card readers, by Babangida Aliyu
GOVERNOR Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State has said the general fearsome the people about the use of card readers might be due to the fears that majority of the people could be disenfranchised if the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) insists on using it.
Speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja Thursday, the governor said given the experience of Nigerians with the identity card registration, the possibility of the failure of the system could not be ruled out. He cited his personal experience during the registration for identity, where it took about one and an hour before he was able to pull through.
“The concern of many people is that the card reader may have difficulties particularly in the rural areas but we have been told that if they are charged, they will be okay. The stand of many of the political parties is that where you have difficulties, what happens. I remember when they were registering me for the National Identity card.
” For me alone, it took about one hour. Suppose there are difficulties in the polling units where you have 500 people and it takes the card reader a long time to do. I understand INEC is going to conduct elementary ways of finding out whether that is possible. The moment the parties are convinced, I think it will be okay.”
The governor, who spoke on the rift between him and his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto, he denied ever ejecting him as a result of their political differences, adding that the intention was renovate the house for the incoming deputy governor , to demonstrate that he had no ill-feelings, he confirmed that in the next two weeks he would also vacate his official residence for the renovation.
But the governor believed that having defected from the ruling People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) under which they were elected, the most important thing for his deputy to have done would have been to resign, but however added that the culture of such resignation was yet to permeate the fabric of Nigerian political landscape.
His words, ” We were elected on the same ticket and morally if you decide to cut away from that ticket, it will mean you should resign but our political culture has not gone to that level, I hope we will reach a situation that the society will demand that we voted you under this party, no matter the difficulties, three months to election, you decide to decamp. We are competing now, at least in competition and you sit down and listen to everything and you carry to the other side.
“I didn’t walk him out of the meeting, we said how does he resolve this morality matter and he said to me, excuse me while the council will decide on the matter. Secondly, on the 18th of February, I was already planning on the 19th of February to leave for Saudi Arabia when I saw his letter on my table saying he was going to leave on the same day and he was in Abuja attending APC meeting, I assume he was going and there is nothing legally or technically that prevents me from giving the Speaker. No law has been abused.
“Since I started in 2007, I have never travelled out of the country without writing the President and the State Assembly to say that my Deputy will act but because of that day when I saw the letter on the 18th that he was traveling on the 19th and with the little friction that was there, I assumed he was going to go even without getting the approval. I said since my plan is already on, the Speaker should act With regards to the friction, people have the right to leave as they want but there are rules.
“if there is a division, like we saw some people creating division to be able to jump the party. Many people asked me why I didn’t go to APC. The idea of G-7 was not to leave PDP, it was to correct what we saw as anomalies but some people in their own planning, they were looking for that kind of division that will give them cover.
“So immediately even when the corrections were been made, they jumped the gun which is their right but I think whatever action they take, they should not expect that the society will look at you and pat you on the back for taking a decision that you know there must be a repercussion, there must be a reaction.”
On insinuation that his deputy was ejected from his quarters, Aliyu said, the report was far from being the truth. “Some people are saying that I ejected him from the Government House, the fact is that Office of the Deputy Governor is always outside the Government House but in my approach and being a former civil servant, I invited him to come near me. But we have not staying in the Government House, the two of us are not staying there, we are now renovating the house because we don’t know who is coming.
” In April I will have to vacate my office for about two weeks for repairs so that whoever comes in will not bother with repairs. But because of the coincidence of what has happened, the moment has given the Deputy Governor the impetus to think it was done to spite somebody but it wasn’t.”
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