NBA election group urges improvement on smart card readers
Commends security, voters’ conduct in Anambra poll
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Election Working Group (EWG) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve on the use of smart card readers in future elections.
The group chairman, Festus Okoye, made the call in a preliminary report on the election.
According to him, the recent governorship election in Anambra State was marked with challenges in the deployment of the card readers,
He added that only an improvement on the use of card readers could guarantee free and fair elections in the country.
Okoye disclosed that some of the card readers used at the election “malfunctioned, some failed to authenticate finger prints, while others either failed completely or worked epileptically due to network challenges.”
“Some of the problems being experienced had become the norm and nothing significant had been done since the challenges were identified in the 2015 elections and subsequent stand-alone governorship, national and state assembly elections.”
Okoye explained: “The problem with the card readers led to a widespread use of Incident Forms for the election. The NBA-EWG also observed uneven distribution of the smart card readers.”
He added: “Money played a significant role in the choice of voters during the election, as some of the political actors distributed money to the voters at the precinct of the polling units. INEC should re-evaluate the current smart card reader technology.
The chairman also commended the security agencies for their coverage of the poll, saying, “The police provided adequate safety for the polls.”
Meanwhile, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has urged lawyers to uphold the rule of law when handling election matters.
He gave the advice yesterday, while opening the national executive committee meeting of the NBA in Uyo.
He said upholding the rule of law would guarantee the growth and sustainability of the country’s cherished democracy.
He lamented a situation where a court could nullify the election of a candidate who won an election and received a certificate of return from the INEC.
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