National Unity Group rejects use of card readers for Saturday’s presidential ballot •Insists on Jega’s resignation

Posted by News Express | 24 March 2015 | 3,615 times

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A pressure group, the National Unity Group (NUG), has rejected the moves by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use card readers during Saturday’s residential election.

According to the group in a statement jointly signed by the National Co-ordinator, Sen. Bala A. Mohammed, and National Secretary, Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, “Following from the mock verification exercise of the smart card readers in selected states by the INEC, it became clear that the machines suffer from many technical and operational flaws, and many questions remain unanswered concerning the use of the machines in a nationwide general election, particularly in an election as significant as the presidential election.”

NUG noted in the statement issued yesterday in Abuja that despite the public outcry, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has refused to publish the state-by-state results of the mock verification exercise. “Why has he refused to do so? What is the secret he is afraid to disclose?” the group asked.

It recalled that Jega had previously stated categorically that he did not want to experiment with the card readers in the governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states. “It baffles us that he now wants to experiment with the smart card readers in a presidential election which is the most important election in the country with far reaching consequences,” NUG said.

It continued: “What, we may ask, has fundamentally changed between the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections and now to warrant Prof. Jega’s insistence on experimenting with smart card readers in the presidential election?

“Prof. Jega’s insistence on using the smart card readers lends credence to the now widely known plot to manipulate the databank and allot pre-determined number of votes to the All Progressives Congress (APC), announce Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the presidential election and dare President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to go to court. The plot involved, from the onset, the award by Prof. Jega of the contract to procure the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and smart card readers to ACT Technologies Ltd., a company owned by known APC card-carrying members and sympathisers.

“We recall the raid of the APC ICT centre in Lagos by the Directorate of State Security (DSS) where it was discovered that the APC planned to hack into the INEC central databank. Little wonder, therefore, that the APC is desperate and insistent on the use of smart card readers despite very glaring inadequacies and shortcomings that came to light during the recent mock verification exercise in selected states. This is perhaps because in the spirit of the heinous conspiracy, the APC is now convinced of their capability to infiltrate and manipulate the Central Databank of INEC to declare themselves winners, a fact that has given their leadership the impetus to threaten to form a parallel government if their candidate is not declared winner of the 2015 presidential election.

“We have it on good authority that Prof. Jega single-handedly appointed an APC card-carrying Professor without consultation with other National Commissioners to recruit all the INEC ad hoc staff for the conduct of the 2015 general election. This is a clear testimony of Prof. Jega’s open romance and avowed commitment to deliver the APC and its candidate.”

NUG demand as follows:

“Having openly compromised his impartiality and lost the confidence and trust of stakeholders, the most honourable thing for Prof. Jega to do is to resign his position as Chairman of INEC because he can no longer function as a neutral and honest electoral umpire.

“The major stakeholders having lost confidence in the use of the card readers in this election for reasons mentioned above and generally, in order to avert avoidable political and constitutional crises, INEC should quickly discontinue the planned use of smart card readers and instead use the PVCs without smart card readers as was done in Osun and Ekiti states. It is instructive to recall that card readers were not used in the 2011 elections and yet the elections were adjudged locally and internationally as the best in the history of Nigeria as free, fair and credible.

“The signs are now clear that if the smart card readers are used, the results will be less credible than the 2011 elections and this will plunge the country into avoidable crises and anarchy.

“We call on all other registered political parties in the interest of Nigeria to be very alert to the heinous plot between Prof. Jega’s INEC and APC, and reject the use of smart card readers that has become controversial to save our democracy.”

•Photo shows Jega.

Source: News Express

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