2019 elections: Advocacy group files FOI request seeking breakdown of card readers usage

INEC Card readers sues to illustrate the story.
INEC Card readers sues to illustrate the story.

A non-partisan advocacy group, Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, has filed a freedom of information request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking a state by state breakdown of card readers’ usage in the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections.

According to a copy of the FOI request, duly acknowledged by INEC and made available to PREMIUM TIMES, the group is seeking the numbers for full accreditation (card verification and biometrics) and partial accreditation (card verification).

The presidential and parliamentary elections in Nigeria held on February 23 across the 36 states and the federal capital territory.

The polls, however, were marred in some parts of the country by card reader malfunction, a situation that led to voters’ frustration.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, for instance, was a victim of card reader malfunction on election day as the machine rejected his fingerprint seven times before the problem was eventually resolved.

The FOI request by the EiE noted that the card reader has been adopted as a means of accreditation for voting since the 2015 general elections.

“The card reader was also adopted as a means of accreditation during the 2019 elections with the slogan – ‘No PVC, No Voting,’ read the request signed by Seun Akinyemi, a research associate at EiE.

“The accreditation process for the 2019 presidential and the national assembly elections has been the subject of intense public debate. Therefore, it is critical to study the accreditation patterns across the country to ensure the integrity of our electoral process.”

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