The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday endorsed last weekend’s trial run on the card readers and resolved to use the device for the forthcoming general elections.
Following the endorsement by INEC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors were said to be last night locked in a meeting in Lagos where they were articulating strong objections to the use of the device.
According to Vanguard, the PDP governors had erstwhile deputy national chairman of the party, Chief Olabode George and other stalwarts in attendance at the meeting where issues on the term of INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega were also being raised.
Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State was said to have canvassed at the beginning of the meeting that Jega should leave office three months to the end of his tenure in accordance with public service rules. Jega’s term took effect from July 1, 2010 and his term is expected to end on June 30, 2015.
Apart from Aliyu, other governors present at the meeting which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites were Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti) and Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo).
Governor of Kaduna State, Mukthar Yero; Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and the party’s governorship candidate in Lagos State, Jimmy Agbaje were also present at the meeting.
Akpabio, chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, told newsmen ahead of the meeting that the card reader had proved to be ineffective and a burden to the accreditation process.
“We came here to brainstorm on how to win the election and how to take Southern Nigeria. We expect to win on the first ballot. PDP cannot panic, we have presence in over 120,000 polling units and PDP is a national party,” Governor Akpabio said.
“We are going to discuss all issues. Unlike others, we have a responsibility to Nigerians. It is our responsibility, we will look at all the issues bordering on the election. Many have not received PVCs. Would you allow 80 percent to be disenfranchised?
“If the election had been held, there would have been serious opposition. We have a responsibility to ensure stability. Even the press did not receive their PVCs. Supposing only 22 per cent voted, would the election have been credible? We want to discuss and strategise to ensure we have free and fair elections.”
Governor Jang, who also spoke berated INEC for not test running the device in last year’s governorship election in Osun and Ekiti States.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had following last Saturday’s trial run, expressed reservations, noting difficulties in the accreditation through the failure of the biometric confirmation among some voters.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), however, said it was satisfied with the device and urged the commission to go ahead with the use of the card readers.