The Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria (INEC) has expressed optimism that the challenges witnessed in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of March 28 will not reoccur in the April 11 governorship election.
The spokesman for the chairman of the INEC, Mr Kayode Idowu, told Channels Television on Monday that the commission had addressed issues related to card reader workability and distribution of election materials.
Explaining the actions that the INEC had taken to address the issues, Mr Idowu said: “The challenges that accounted for what we saw on Mach 28 included the fact that a particular network provider’s SIM card ought to have been activated with a mobile phone before they are inserted. The commission has given an instruction that every card of that network must be activated first in a phone before they are inserted into the card reader”.
“Another issue that was noticed is that the protective film that should have been removed was left in the card reader, making it impossible for the card reader to work,” he said.
According to him, the commission had also addressed the issue of the handling of the materials by the ad-hoc staff.
“With all these things in place, the commission is home and dry that we will be able to use the card reader very well on April 11.”
Mr Idowu pointed out that the card reader worked in a substantial number of the polling units, saying it only failed in one per cent of the 155,000 voting points across Nigeria on March 28.
“The Commission has given directive to the state that everybody who handles the card reader must be a trained staff.
“More technical staff will be deployed from the headquarters to address any challenges on the field.
“We are optimistic that we will not have the kind of challenges that we had on March 28 on April 11,” he said.
On the issue of transportation of materials, Mr Idowu said the INEC had met on April 2 and identified about six broad areas where challenges were identified on March 28.
He said that one of such was the activation of the Registration Area Centres (RACs), which according to him, did not function adequately on March 28.
Material are meant to stay overnight at the RACs and moved to the polling units the next day, a process Mr Idowu expressed optimism that it would work effectively on April 11.
The spokesman for the INEC chairman said the chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, had instructed that the RACs must be operational on April 11.