We are constrained to call for caution over the resolve of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to make the use of its card readers a sine qua non to qualify registered voters to exercise their franchise come Saturday’s Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
Indeed, no sane Nigerian will question the resort of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to card readers in all the elections this year. If anything at all, we commend the initiative and will always stand up for it. It is also a landmark improvement in the country’s electoral process which should eventually land our democracy in the league of progressive democracies where the process and conduct of elections are as electronic as they are fraud-proof in order to gain the confidence of the electorate.
However, we are constrained to worry over recent reports of INEC’s resolve to make the card readers as the somewhat clearing house for every potential voter in the coming weekend’s governorship and related elections.
If we may ask, is the Commission saying that once a registered voter’s card is not cleared by the card reader, such a person must not vote? Or is INEC saying it should not be blamed should any of the card readers malfunction?
Either way, we hasten to warn that any insistence by the Commission on this latter move will throw spanner in the seemingly good work it is said to be doing, especially given the kudos it got across board in the aftermath of March 28 presidential election. In order not to lend credence to speculations on likely compromise by the Commission, we urge that INEC reverses this position and let the scenario that played out during the presidential poll guide the April 11 polls.
We consider this the only sane way to go as it is too late in the day for the use of card readers to be made compulsory in Saturday’s exercise.
Especially, given the volatility of the electorate in some parts of the country and following the outcome of the March 28 polls which redefined the political configuration in the land, we believe that tempers are yet to be on the cool, tolerant side. Thus, any action by anybody, more so an all-important institution that is central to the process as INEC, is capable of being misread. For a polity as charged as ours in this countdown to April 11 polls, any little spark as INEC’s recent proposition, may not mean well for the entire process.

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