The 2019 General Elections are approaching and Nigerians are waiting, with their voter cards, to perform their civic rights.

It is another critical year for the nation’s democracy and the card reader machine is one thing that must not fail them.

Issues around card reader machine malfunctioning had frayed nerves, including that of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is assuring Nigerians that those issues will not reoccur in 2019.

The Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in Abuja on Wednesday at a meeting with the Senate Committee on INEC.

He insisted that the problem with card readers witnessed in past elections were not technical but with the training of the ad hoc staff.

Those challenges with the device were being magnified by politicians, he also told the Senate.

The card reader had failed to read the voter card of former President Jonathan on the Presidential election day at his Otuoke community in Bayelsa State, leaving politicians uncertain about the effectiveness of the machine.  

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But Professor Yakubu assured Nigerians that steps had been taken to check the problems with handling of the machine.

“We have taken steps to improve the process of the smart card readers and we will continue to do so. We will also use improved smart card readers in Anambra election,” he said.

On the method the commission intends to use for the 2019 general elections in the rural areas, the chairman said that specific machines would be deployed to specific communities.

“We will deploy specific machine to the specific community and we will also provide additional machines and speak to the community leaders. We will treat all states equally.”

Meanwhile, the commission has suspended voter registration in Anambra until after the November 18 governorship election in the state.

On INEC’s involvement in party primaries, Yakubu said that there was nothing the commission could do about the party imposing a candidate on its members.

“We have problem with party primaries but INEC has no power to disqualify a candidate of a party.

“There is nothing the commission can do about it but we promise the country that INEC can never go to court to defend any candidate after election,” he said.


The Chairman of the Senate committee, Suleiman Nazif, urged INEC to update the committee with every detail of the ongoing voter registration.

He advised the commission to ensure adequate briefing on the 2017 budget performance to enable the Senate know the challenges with a view to taking legislative actions to help the commission.

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