By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Last Saturday’s demonstration of the use of the card reader in selected states of the country has left the political class perplexed. Those against the use of the card reader cannot openly come out to denounce the device given its effective blockage of fake Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs. At the same time, those in rabid support of the use of the device are also constrained by the shortcomings as seen in its failure to effectively read the thumbprints of a significant number of potential voters in many places it was used.
In some centres as Bauchi, potential voters were had to clean their hands repeatedly as it emerged that the card reader is constrained by ointments, grease or other sorts of lotion.
However, INEC officials say that all hope is not lost. Voters whose thumbprints are not read by the card readers could still vote but would have to fill an incident report form to reflect the development.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP that had earlier expressed reservation on the use of the card reader was restrained in its comment on Saturday evening after the mock accreditation.
“Our response to the emerging problems and challenges from Saturday’s testing of the card reader is ‘RES IPSA LOQUITOR- the fact speak for itself. The PDP and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians await INEC’s official response and or its final decision after such defining challenges, party spokesman, Olisa Metuh said in a statement Saturday.
The All Progressives Congress, APC which had championed the use of the card reader as a way of checking malpractices was yet to react as at press time yesterday.
The APC had prior to the conduct of the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States last year called for the use of the card readers as a prelude to using them for this year’s general election. But INEC for some yet undisclosed reasons refused even if the PVCs were deployed for the elections.
Now, following last Saturday’s qualified successful demonstration of its use, eyes are now on the election management body, INEC. Meanwhile, the two major political parties one against the use of the reader and the other vociferous in its agitation for its use are going back to the drawing board to push forward their strategies to sustain their positions.