Reps divided over use of card readers for elections

There was a division among members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday over the use of electronic card reader during  elections in the country.

The division was noticed during the passage for second reading of consolidated bills which include: A bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act, 2010 to make the electoral process full proof by making the card reader the credible means of voters accreditation and voting and provide for strict compliance with election guidelines and manual so as to enhance transparency and efficiency in the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.

Others are: “A bill for an Act to amend sections 33 and 36 of the Electoral Act, 2010 to provide for death of a presidential or gubernatorial candidate during an on-going election.

“A bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act, Cap. E6, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to incorporate Diaspora Voting in the Presidential Election in the Presidential Election in the Nigerian Electoral Act, 2010

“A bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act, No. 6 of 2010 to provide a time line for the submission of lists of candidates, criteria for substitution of candidates, disclosure of sources of funds contributed for political parties and to empower the commission to uphold party primaries where there is a change in the results and for other related matters (HBs 484, 806, 809 and 966)”.

The consolidated bills which passed second reading after heated debates by the lawmakers was sponsored by Hon. Ahmed Babba Kaita, Karimi Sunday, Eucharia Azodo and Aishatu Jibril Dukku.

Speaking on the bill, one of the sponsors of the bill, Hon. Karimi said that,” if the proposed amendment to the 2010 Electoral Act passed through, it will address the controversy that arose during  the last gubernatorial election in Kogi State where All Progressives Congress (APC),  Late Abubakar Audu died while the election was on”.

While contributing to the debate, the Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor said “Card reader is an instrument of disenfranchising Nigeria,” adding that, the card reader used in the last election was a disaster.

He then advised that, “INEC should wake up to their responsibility.  We should go for clear  electronic voting.  Any attempt  to introduce the card readers into the electoral act,  we will go fully against it”.

In his own contribution, Chief Whip, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa said that the use of card reader has come to stay, saying that card reader was an attempt to fight electoral corruption.

He added that card reader must survive and must remain in our electoral Act.

According to him, “the usage of the card reader  is a deliberate  attempt  to fight electoral corruption. It is a very good bill.  Card reader must survive and be included  in the electoral act”.

The bill was referred to the committees on electoral matters and justice for further legislative input.

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