The Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday said the confession by the Independent National Electoral Commission, through its National Commission and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, that its card readers were being circumvented, confirmed the party’s position that the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections, as well as the Kogi West Senatorial election, were all manipulated and therefore fraudulent.
Okoye had on Wednesday admitted that the smart card reader had lost its efficacy and vibrancy in the electoral process and that the SCR had become a redundant and inconsequential instrument, which posed challenges to the electoral process in Nigeria.
The PDP National Publicity, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, said the confession by two INEC commissioners; Okoye and Haruna Mohammed, on Wednesday did not come to the party as a surprise.
Ologbondiyan said, “The confession by the commission vindicates the position of the PDP and a majority of Nigerians that there were manipulations, alterations and circumventing of genuine data captured by the card readers and that actual results transmitted from polling units were tampered with.
“The admission also brings to light why INEC had no convincing defence at the tribunal in the face of overwhelming discrepancies in the figures it declared in the presidential poll.
“It is instructive to note that the confession by INEC has not only vindicated our party, it has also placed a huge burden on the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu.”
The PDP spokesman said it was unfortunate that INEC could claim that it had just realised that the card readers had lost steam in the nation’s electoral process after they had been used to manipulate voting processes.
He said, “The INEC Chairman should accept his failures and vacate office without further delay. This is because there is no way Nigerians can continue to repose confidence in the commission under his watch.
“Of course, not under an electoral commission that condones the invasion of polling units, suppression of voters and stuffing of snatched ballot boxes; an INEC that cancels results in places where election held peacefully while announcing fabricated results allocated to its favoured political party as valid votes.”
We’ve not dumped Smart Card Reader – INEC
Meanwhile, INEC said its statement that the Smart Card Reader had lost its vibrancy did not mean that it would not use it for elections.
INEC added that rather, it would continue to use and deploy the device in all elections, including the rerun elections in Kogi West Senatorial District; Ajaokuta Federal Constituency and Sabuwa State Constituency elections scheduled for November 30 2019.
Okoye, in a statement on Thursday, said his earlier comment did not mean that that Smart Card Readers were no longer useful in the electoral process.
He said to the contrary, he spoke in the context of attempts by some political interests to wilfully by-pass the Smart Card Reader during elections to inflate their votes.
He said, “They do this against the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s decision that the SCR is not to be used exclusively to determine over-voting.
“However, the commission introduced the Smart Card Reader in the electoral process principally as additional confirmatory and authentication tool to determine the authenticity of cards presented by voters and eliminate impersonation, which are serious challenges to the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The SCR is therefore designed to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process and eliminate multiple voting.”