Nigerians have been urged to mount pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy and use the already purchased Card Reader to test run the Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections respectively before the 2015 general election.
Making the call yesterday during a press conference held in Lagos against the backdrop of INEC's alleged resolve to jettison the card reader, the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), Chief Ayo Opadokun, said such development was suspicious "because non-usage of the facility in Ekiti and Osun States in June and August would mean that it would be impossible to detect multiple voting and impersonation which are rumoured to be a perfected strategy of particular candidates."
According to him, insisting on the usage of the card reader would be important so that the electoral management body, local and international observers are equipped for the usage of the card reader at the nationwide general elections, insisting that the "medicine after death policy as INEC has done repeatedly should be resisted."
He stated that the non-usage of the card reader in Ekiti and Osun States would mean that there would be avoidable floodgate for the usage of take voter cards for multiple voting and impersonation in several polling units.
"Such a scenario will most certainly lead to confusion, accusations and possible violence in various polling centres given the expected effective monitoring and vigilance that contesting political parties would mount in order to defend their votes.
"If the INEC's turnaround position of not using the card reader is allowed to be, it means that the necessary trial runs of the card reader in the immediate elections holding in June and August to test the genuiness or the lack of it, the credibility or otherwise, of the machine has again been dubiously frustrated.
"If the prospect for testing the card reader to establish the accuracy of the technology, the knowledge and expertise of INEC ad hoc staff (the human users) are postponed, until 2015 general election, it could be imagined that there is an ulterior reasons for such a negative policy.
The size of Ekiti and Osun States is small compared to the entire country so it presents a golden opportunity for INEC and the public to be acquainted with the use of the technology," he said.
Opadokun, a former General Secretary of Afenifere and member, defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), drew further inference from the 2010 scenario when there were nationwide and international calls for a computerised voters’ register, for which INEC requested and was allocated over N80 billion for the entire process of purchase and biometric voters' register.