Presidential Election: Amaechi Lead APC Members On Street Protest Against INEC In Rivers

Thousands of APC members in Port Harcourt Sunday protested against the handling of the presidential and national Assembly elections held yesterday in Rivers State.

Heavily armed anti-riot Policemen have taken over a portion of the ever busy Aba road the protesters armed with placards are marching to the state office of the Independent National Electoral Comission, INEC.

Nigeria enters day 2 of the presidential and National Assembly elections. The extension came as a result of technical problems associated with the use of card readers.

The Independent National Electoral Commission announced on March 28, yesterday, that voting would continue on Sunday at 300 out of 150,000 polling stations.

Amaechi who didn’t vote during the yesterdays elections accused INEC for refusal to release the results sheets for the polls, though the result from the state is yet to be announced by the commission, the governor is currently leading a protest.

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Why Card Readers Malfunctioned- INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Sunday said one of the reasons the card readers deployed for Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections failed was because its officials failed to remove the protective film on the lens of the equipment.

Some of the devices failed to read the biometric data of voters who turned up to perform their civic duties at various polling stations across the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan was one of those unable to get accreditation with the electronic device when he turned up at his Unit 13 polling station in his hometown in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, to vote. For more than half an hour the electoral officials at the unit battled unsuccessfully to get the president accredited.

Despite about four of the devices deployed to ensure that the president and his wife were accredited, he still ended up being accredited manually to vote during the exercise after being issued the INEC incidence form.

But, speaking on Sunday in Abuja in a television programme to review the conduct of the exercise, Kayode Idowu, the spokesperson to the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, admitted that reports that the devices may have failed to function as a result of the non-removal of the protective film on the face of the lens of the card reader may have been true.

“We (INEC) received reports that some of the card readers may have failed to function, because officials that handled the devices may have failed to remove the protective film covering on the face of lens,” he said.

He said the film may have blocked the lens of the card reader, making it difficult for it to read the biometric data in the permanent voters cards presented by voters for scanning”, Mr. Idowu added.

The spokesperson, who admitted this was not the only flaw identified in the new electoral process deployed during the election, said the Commission had taken note of the challenges and would effect corrections in subsequent elections to ensure that the exercise was more credible and acceptable.

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2015 Election: A Litmus Test for INEC and Her Adhoc Staff

With the emergence of radical political science professor as INEC chairman, an attempt has been made by the former ASUU chairman and Bayero University Vice Chancellor Prof Attahiru Jega to reform Nigerian electoral system by recognising perceived credible people as electoral umpire. And that necessitated the involvement of tertiary institutions lecturers and NYSC Corps members as INEC Adhoc staffs. The duo are regarded as those that will never compromise on anything that has to do with fairness and justice, even if it’s at a gunpoint. But do they still have that integrity up to now?

The forthcoming election is going to be hurly-burly for this country, seeing how almost every section of the country used a conditional statement to talk about INEC’s readiness, independence and how they were willy-nilly engaged by the military to postpone the election in order to reduce the insecurity that rocked the country for some times. All these and other related issues cast doubt on the citizen’s mind over the possible outcome of the election. With the revelation of Ekiti rigging pattern and the possibility of imploring the same or similar strategy in the election to come, would INEC Adhoc staffs be of any relevance in terms of stopping rigging?

Dollars are being shared by vested interest to anybody that will dance to their tunes, while opposition has warned against short changing the mandate of the people. Therefore it is pertinent for every Adhoc staff to know that the no amount of money is worth his integrity, future or live. History will always remember the slain Corps members that were killed during the previous election by village hoodlums who perceived that their election result was changed. Let’s every corps member have this at the back of his mind that rigging will not provide him with equal opportunity in labour market, those s/he help through rigging will ensure favouritism and nepotism. If you really live in Nigeria, the immigration stampedes where graduates were killed mercilessly in the name job recruitment exercise should be a lesson. Provide a level playing ground now as electoral umpire by exercising your duty punctilious and that will save you from the action of hooligans and subsequently, fairness and justice will have it way.

For lecturers that promise to graduate students based on character and learning, what kind of character would they display if they will rig election for money? What morality do they have if they can’t stand a single day trial? Have they forgotten the conditions of our institutions of learning? Have they forgotten the frequent strikes they have embarked on intermittently because government fails to honour the agreement they have reached?

It is well known that a boil on one’s nose is more painful to the afflicted than earthquake which happens thousand miles away. The victim of immigration stampede are Ex Corps members, the segregated ASUP members are lecturers too and the lingering promise between ASUU and government is not completely materialised, then what else does the INEC Adhoc staffs need to experience about bad leadership? They may threaten you of ending with Hob-son’s choice if you reject their rigging offer but accepting it, is a treachery. Be bold to stand the test of time.

The hope that Nigerians have on lecturers and students is largely because of their activist nature which has gradually declined. If our intellectuals really care about their past glory, lost prestige and are anxious to redeem their image. Then, they should make sure that the election is transparent, free, fair and credible which will inevitably brighting the future of Nigeria.

Let the majority have their way and certainly violence will never erupt. Anybody that may win through rigging have nothing like human development or capital project in his dictionary All they know is corruption and as the popular saying goes among serious Nigerian citizens ” Unless Nigeria kills corruption, Corruption will kills Nigeria”. You choose.

 

Written by Sabiu Zaranda

@Binzaranda on twitter

 

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