By Aliyu Yakubu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday warned that the commission would cancel results that do not emanate through the Smart Card Readers in the forthcoming Governorship and State Houses of Assembly Election nationwide.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, gave the warning in a statement released on Tuesday in Abuja.
The commission warned electoral officers to strictly adhere to the usage of SCR, adding that failure to do so could lead to voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas during the exercise.
It also debunked allegations that it was engaged in selective use of the card readers during the last Presidential and National Assembly in some parts of the country saying that the allegation was “absolutely false and baseless.”
Okoye stressed that the use of the SCR was mandatory, as refusal to use the device attracts possible prosecution of erring officials.
“Since the conduct of the February 23 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections, there have been allegations from certain quarters that the Independent National Electoral Commission was selective in its use of Smart Card Readers in its conduct of the electrons.
“These allegations have led to speculations that INEC may be forced to jettison their use in the March 9, 2019 governorship, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections.
“INEC hereby states categorically that the allegations are absolutely false and the speculations are without any basis whatsoever.
“The use of the Smart Card Readers is not only mandatory, but its deliberate non-use attracts the sanction of possible prosecution of erring officials in accordance with the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of elections”, the statement said.
While stating the usage of the card readers has greatly improved the nation’s electoral system, INEC vowed not to back out from continuing it.
According to it, “This is in addition to the voiding of any result emanating from such units or areas, as was done in the Presidential and National Assembly elections of February 23, 2019.
“The general public and all officials engaged for the elections are hereby informed that the Commission is not reconsidering the use of these Smart Card Readers which has greatly improved the credibility of our elections and instilled a high level of public trust in them.
“To clear any doubt or ambiguity, we wish to state that the deployment and mandatory use of Smart Card Readers in next Saturday’s elections will not only be uniform but also universal, and the provisions of the Regulations and Guidelines will be strictly and vigorously enforced.”