Nigeria’s Senate President, David Mark, on Tuesday commended the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, for the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections.
In a speech read by the Senate President, at the plenary meeting, Mr. Mark said the Senate also applauded the innovation of card readers but urged the electoral body to deal with the shortcoming of the tool.
Mr. Mark urged Nigerians to accept the new voting technology as the card readers proved to be effective albeit a few setbacks.
“For the successes of the 2015 general elections, special commendation must go to Prof Attahiru Jega and his team at INEC.
“The introduction of card readers added value to the electoral process.
“The card readers proved to be effective, efficient and result-oriented and we should embrace this technology.
“However, INEC must note the areas of its shortcomings and improve on them”, Mr. Mark said.
There were, however, some opposition to Mr. Mark’s speech, with some lawmakers grumbling when Mr. Mark referred to the efficiency of the card readers.
When Mr. Jega first introduced the card readers to the Senate, members of the Peoples Democratic Party strongly kicked against its use.
Mr. Jega had explained that the card readers would be used to verify rightful owners of Permanent Voters Cards.
He said the readers would check proxy voting and impersonation.
But the PDP legislators queried its efficiency amongst other complaints.
Mr. Mark commended Nigerian citizens for ensuring free and fair elections, saying it has proved to the world that Nigeria has laid a solid foundation for democracy to thrive.
He specifically praised President Goodluck Jonathan for conceding defeat to the President-elect, Muhammad Buhari.
“The president’s action added value to the consolidation of democracy in our land.
“It raised the benchmark of peaceful democratic transition and consequently set a new democratic template in our continent, notorious for our infamous sit-tight leaders.
“That singular act saved us from a possible crisis and catastrophe,” he said. Mr. Mark called out “doomsday pastors who predicted disaster”.
He went ahead to congratulate the serving senators who won their gubernatorial election.