No alternative to PVC, card reader in today’s elections —INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted yesterday that only the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) will be accepted for the purpose of voting during today’s governorship/state assembly elections.

The commission, which said it had been inundated with reports that some political leaders were misleading voters that they could go to polling stations with Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs), said that any statement contradicting the use of PVCs and Smart Card Readers (SCRs) today should be disregarded.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr.Kayode Idowu, cited an unnamed governor in the North Central who allegedly told voters in his state that “they could come out to vote on Election Day with Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) if they do not have the PVC, and that INEC will not be allowed to insist on the use of SCRs for voter accreditation.”

He said it was unfortunate that some leaders would “misguide the public and thereby prepare ground for needless disruptions to the polling process on April 11” and warned that any obstruction to the processes it has put in place for the elections by any person, no matter how highly placed, will constitute an electoral offence punishable in law.

Idowu advised the public to “disregard false assurances that contradict the regulations INEC has outlined for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.”

The Commission stressed that “only voters with genuine PVCs should go to the polling units on Election Day, and that guidelines issued on the use of SCRs for the April 11 elections would be strictly applied. Any action infringing these guidelines will be an electoral offence, and security agents will be on hand to apprehend offenders.”

The Commission commended voters for “their peaceful conduct and exemplary resilience, even in the face of minor challenges, during the Presidential and National Assembly elections on March 28, 2015,”.

In a related development, INEC’s spokesman in Kwara State, Mr. Jacob Iyanda, yesterday assured voters in the state that the card readers will work efficiently in today’s elections.

 He said: “We have taken necessary steps to correct the issues because we discovered that the problem was not with the card readers but the way people used them. In some cases, they removed the batteries in the card readers when they were trying to use it for training and they didn’t work.

 “They didn’t know that the card readers had been configured to start working at exactly 8 am on election day and not before. So as the batteries were removed, it affected the date and time pre-configured on them, and that was why we had those problems.

 “Now we have educated our officials and we have prepared a working paper that will help them on the field. In the literature, we warned that they must ensure the card readers are properly charged before they are handed over to the election supervisor or presiding officers.

“We also warn that all card readers have already been configured for the election and cannot be used for training purposes, and that if batteries are removed for any reason, they should contact the administrators who will then reconfigure it.

 “We have also advised them that they should ensure that the nylon film covering the finger capture area on the card reader is removed before use, for better performance.”

Meanwhile, the Commission has assigned the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Kogi State, Alhaji Hussaini Halilu Pai, to supervise the conduct of the Governorship and State Assembly elections in Kano State, following the death of Alhaji Minkala Abdullahi last weekend. Before his posting as Kogi REC, Alhaji Pai was the Ekiti State REC, who conducted the Governorship Election of June 21, 2014. In his absence, the REC for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Professor Jacob Jatau, will supervise the April 11 conduct of State Assembly election in Kogi State.

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