International Observers and voters in Ekiti State yesterday okayed the usage of the Smart Card Readers in the coming polls as Independent National Electoral Commission successfully conducted its mock accreditation in Ado Ekiti.
The INEC conducted the mock exercise in Ado Ward 09 , which has about 21,631 voters across out of which 14,461 have collected their Permanent Voter Cards Across 46 units.
Though, the turnout of voters was not that impressive, but practical demonstration of the machines gave conviction that it would not be time-wasting or lead to the disenfranchisement of voters on the day of election as being contemplated. A visit at the Dallimore Ward 002 at about 11.30am, revealed that about 60 voters have been accredited with the aid of Smart Card Readers and the Technical Officers revealed that the average time for the accreditation ranges between 2 and 4 seconds.
Also at Ajitadidun/Olora’s compound unit 006, the average range of time of accreditation ranges between 5 and 13 seconds. International Observers, Mrs Rumi Ana Decheva and Mr Uros Urstga, who monitored the exercise, commended the INEC for the initiative, saying it would help in adding credibility to the country’s electoral process.
Former Commissioner for Tourism under ex-Governor Kayode Fayemi’s government, Alhaji Ayodele Jinadu and ex-Chairman, Ado Ekiti Local Government, Mr Sunday Ibitoye described the exercise as a huge success which cannot be easily compromised by poll riggers. The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, who monitored the election , said the mock exercise has convinced Nigerians about the usefulness and relevance of the machines to the coming general elections.
The REC added that cases of those whose fingerprints cannot be captured during verification , particularly the aged people and those in possession of non-readable PVCs would have their issues reported to the INEC headquarters in Abuja. He said:””We would have appreciated if the turnout has been better than this, but we have been able to convince the people about the workability of the machines which was the main issue.
“We are compiling the list of those who cannot be accredited with these machines . Their cases will be reported to Abuja for necessary actions. If you see the number of times it required to get people accredited , one will be convinced that the Smart Card Reader has been a success. Some spent even less than two minutes, some four minutes and some not accredited at all.
“We are compiling the Incident Report Forms to be able to look into all these variations and come out with a form to look Mrs Decheva said she was impressed by the turnout, saying emphasis should be on the workability of the machines and not rely on the number of participants.
“I think the practicability of these machines have been confirmed. Each voter spent less than 5 seconds and by this it is not going to waste time contrary to insinuations”, she said. A voter, Mrs Ojo Taiwo, who was verified at Dallimore Unit 002, applauded the electoral body for the initiative , saying it will help in stemming the tide of electoral malfeasance in the country, adding that she agrees to the proposition that the machines should be used in the coming general elections.
Mrs Ajayi said: “I spent less than five seconds to get accredited. I am happy about one thing, if I had brought a fake PVC, the machine would have detected it and anything that could detect fraud is good to be used for election. So, I support the usage of these machines”.