Why card readers malfunctioned – INEC

Card reader

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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  • True Nigerian

    Well, it first possible diagnosis is that the staff were probably not well-trained by INEC. No properly trained electoral official who is as dedicated as some of these INEC workers would turn up for work and completely forget such a simple thing as removing a thin protective film on the lense of the reader. If they were trained to remember and remove it, I’m sure they woukld have remembered to do exactly so.

    • lorenzo

      It is shameful to say such thing. Why didn’t INEC use the people who would eventually conduct the polls during the testing of the card readers? If they had removed the film during
      the testing why would they forget on the D Day?

  • uduakomiri

    Human error

  • Maitama Tambari

    Yes is true. Without removing the protective film there is no way the car reader can read the fingers. We had to assist the Corpers to advise them to remove the protective film before the machine works properly.


      What do you expect from Youth Corpers who graduated under GEJ’s watch?

  • New Nigerian

    If you do not remove the protective film on your brand new smart phone – the camera would not work either…common sense. Is it the case of the folks not knowing or is it a wilful determination not to use it masquerading as ignorance? Time and pattern correlation will tell…

  • Rumournaire

    This is only one of INEC’s several lapses – deploying people without coaching them on what to do. There are other serious issues with the voting process. Following are some other issues:

    1) When INEC said accreditation would start at 8am, one would have assumed that the polling officials would have collected all the materials and be seated at the polling stations before 8am. In fact, it was by that 8am that the officials were reporting at the INEC offices to collect the voting materials. This explains why the officials did not show up at the polling stations until 10am or later. It was bad planning.

    2) The huge and sometimes restless crowds at the various polling units would have been avoided if INEC attended to the people as they arrived. Somehow, we have this mentality that everybody must come and queue up before attending to them. With good planning, you could even avoid a long queue. If people are attended to as they come, they would leave after their accreditation and there would be no mad crowds. On the other hand, if people stand on a long queue and the queue is not moving, they become restless and disorderly. If you tell people to queue up, make sure the queue moves!

    3) The arrangement for accreditation first in the morning, and voting many hours later, gives room for massive fraud. I got accredited around 2:30pm and went back to vote around 5pm. When I was voting, the only thing the officials checked was that I had the purple ink mark on my thumb nail. I could very well have procured a fake PVC, given myself the purple ink mark, and I would have voted! This may well explain why the number of voters in one LGA in Ekiti State exceeded the number of accredited voters! (From what I have seen, there was massive fraud in Ekiti State.) I still do not understand why INEC came up with this two-trip arrangement. The neatest thing would have been for one to go straight to vote immediately after accreditation.

    Sadly, most government officials – including INEC – shut their minds to suggestions that could improve their work. There seems to be something in them that makes them believe they are the custodian of all wisdom. It is unfortunate. I appreciate INEC’s good work, but they would have done much better if they had critically analysed their own process perhaps with some objective outside Process experts.

  • galaxy

    Kanu!!! Idiota

  • Sincere-Voice

    The evil child as killed himself with his arrogancy. We told him but he remained adamant to his foolishness. Now, he is hidding somewhere like a caged rat.