INEC Reacts To Report That 13.5m Nigerians Voted Manually In 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday last week refused to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill into law for the fourth time.
This fueled accusations that he was not comfortable with the introduction of mandatory use of smart card reader for accreditation, verification and authentication of voters and electronic transmission of results, as stipulated in the bill.
According to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the fear of losing the 2019 election due to the legalisation of the use of the technological device as well as electronic transmission of results from Polling Unit to Collation Centre, forced the President not to sign the bill into law.
Also, The Cable had reported that 13.5 million Nigerians voted without Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in 2015.
According to the report, the data was obtained by DeepDive Intelligence from the electoral body.
Analysis of the data indicated that 75 percent of votes cast without PVC were in states won by President Muhammadu Buhari, then candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
It also showed that Buhari won in nine of the 10 most-affected states.
"Of the 31,746,490 accredited voters in the election, 13,536,311 representing 42.6 percent of voters voted without biometric accreditation.
"Out of this number, 10,184,720 votes are from states won by Buhari and 3,351,591 votes came from states won by Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, representing 75 percent and 25 percent of accredited voters respectively," the report stated.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has now reacted to the report.
Speaking in Abuja at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room National Stakeholders Forum on Elections, Professor Yakubu said the Commission would not be drawn into such controversy.
The 2015 election, he noted, has been confined to history, stressing that the electoral body is focused on delivering free, fair and credible polls in 2019.
Although he could not confirm if the data was obtained from the Commission, as claimed by DeepDive Intelligence, he, however, admitted that there were 'glitches' with the use of the card readers in the last general election.
"People have been bandying all sorts of figures from some groups. The Independent National Electoral Commission is really focused on the coming elections.
"If there are research findings from the Anambra elections in relation to the use of Incident Forms, Ekiti and Osun elections, we are ready to look at all those things. Because from Anambra, to Ekiti and Osun, you could have noticed that the issue of Incident Forms has not been an issue even in the Election Petition Tribunals.
"So, I think that we should be focusing on the improvements we have made on the smart card reader rather than what happened in 2015. Because apparently there were glitches and challenges with the smart card reader in 2015 because it was a new innovation. And some people were trying to understand it and some people were also trying to undermine it.
"But we have moved away from that particular regime and we have improved on the regime of the smart card reader and we are going to sustain those improvements as we move towards the 2019 elections," Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, who represented Mahmood said.
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