Who’s Afraid of the Card Reader?

Category: Politics 40 0


Many times over, we crave development as a people and on the other hand wittingly embrace stagnancy or outright backwardness. In any of these, it boils down to choice, a choice to remain transfixed or a choice to make appreciable advancement in the direction of our desired objective which is positive growth.
Things are ever changing in life, and not to be left behind we must rapidly evolve. Nigeria must not just change but evolve. Pardon my rants; I should rather address the question posed by the topic of this write-up. Seriously, who’s afraid of the INEC card reader, why should anybody be and why should anybody not?
Some argued that the 1999 constitution doesn’t support electronic voting, but for your umpteenth information, this machine accredits and it’s not used for voting. If you care to know what electronic voting means, then ask the Namibians who are the first ever African country to vote electronically. By the way, since when has the idea of card reader been on? Why will anyone suddenly wake up now to say it’s not needed, why did we budget and spend so much on them only for some to say no to it? Do we then roast them or what?

Further lame excuse was that it was new, we were all new at a point in life as babies, and thank God our parents gave us the opportunity to take our baby steps till we perfected same and were able to even run. At a point in time GSM was new, now the market women send SMS, even the farmers under the Federal government agricultural initiative use one of those today.
Just yesterday, ATM was new, e-commerce was new, internet banking was new, social media was new, but today, they’ve come to be a part of us. Per adventure we don’t use the card reader now, when are we going to ever use them? I think INEC is also culpable in not heeding the call for the machines to be used during the Ekiti and Osun elections; it would have been a perfect litmus test.
The INEC Boss was at the national assembly the other day to demonstrate its use to the legislators and on Saturday 7th March he did a dry run in twelve states and was adjudged by both local and international observers as efficient. Even though there were isolated cases of difficulty in accreditation, my personal experience with such devices has shown that a cut on the particular finger-print registered could cause rejection, likewise the presence of foreign bodies such as oil, grease and so on. Yet, I still find it desirable.
One thing I didn’t tell you about Saturdays’ trial was the man who came with cloned PVC to a unit in Rivers State; guess what, the machine denied him. I guess such people will land into the waiting arms of the security force under the real election atmosphere.
From reports, accreditation was reportedly done under seconds per head, it reduces if not totally eliminates your ‘stand-in-the-sun-time’. Do you still remember when people like Mohammed Ali ,Mike Tyson and co were found on INEC’s voters’ register? Do you remember when people were using palm kernel nut to vote their preferred candidate? What if by some dubious collusion, all or a good number of the unclaimed PVC gets into the hands of any of the political parties? I hope you know such cards will be useless if the card reader is deployed?

I think everybody should welcome any means, device or system that tends to eliminate any of these anomalies that has discredited our electoral processes over the years.
Winners of elections under such system as this will be bold to raise their heads high in pride of having won and fairly too, while the losers will equally be proud of having lost in a fair contest. Not using the card reader in my opinion is sticking to the rut the status quo portends.
Just wondering why one would be for and the other against the use of the card reader?

It’s either the PDP is afraid of losing or rather the APC is over-confident of winning, but why will either of them take such position, there could be surprise wins and there could be surprise losses, it’s a friendly battle, let’s be fair and be seen as fair. Anything to stem the tide of electoral malfeasance in this country is good by me. Let’s employ the card readers. THINK!

– ‘Dapo Omojola

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