DELTA—-The Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has petitioned Delta INEC legal counsel, led by Messrs D.D. Dodo & Co over its position on the directive of INEC on the use of card readers for accreditation in April 11, 2015 governorship election.
In a petition addressed to the Acting Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Abuja, Mrs Amina Zakari by Olorogun Emerhor Oghenetega counsel, Barr. S. M. Egbune, dated July 4, 2015, they frowned at the willful and deliberate contradiction of INEC stated position at the Delta State governorship elections tribunal Asaba with respect to card readers’ accreditation requirement for the April 11, 2015 elections.
They stated that APC and its governorship candidate Olorogun Emerhor noted with dismay and are shocked that Messrs D.D. Dodo & CO in its response to their petition has willfully and deliberately denied, misstated and contradicted INEC publicly stated and certified positions with regards to the sanctity of the use of card readers only for the accreditation of voters during the April 11, 2015 governorship elections.
According to him, upon a closer look at INEC response; “we were shocked at the assertions which directly amounts to a denial and contradiction of INEC’s stated position which is in the public domain. A few of these assertions are in paragraphs 7b, c, d, e and f which read as follows:
In 7b; ” The Respondents admit that by law and by the 3rd Respondent’s ( INEC ) directives and guidelines for the conduct of a free, fair, credible and transparent election, accreditation of voters is a condition precedent to voting by a registered voter on election day but deny that 3rd Respondent prescribed the mandatory use of electronic card readers for the accreditation of voters for the election held on 11th April, 2015 in each of the polling units in each Local Government Area of Delta State”
In 7c; “The Respondents state that the Electoral Act is a comprehensive Act which deals with the conduct of elections in Nigeria. Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides for the ONLY mode of accreditation of voters which is solely through the Register of voters. Accreditation at an election is regulated by the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).”
In 7d; INEC stated further that, ” The introduction of Card Reader Machine is a MERE INSTRUCTION at the election to facilitate the accreditation process and DOES NOT in any way EQUATE with or OBLITERATE the express provisions of the Electoral Act, which are extant for all purposes. ”
It stated in 7e; that, ” from inception it was contemplated that upon failure of the Card Reader Machine, other contingencies will be resorted to in order to ensure that election is duly conducted and that legitimate voters were not disenfranchised. ”
In 7f; INEC also stated that, “the ultimate mechanism was a resort to the MANUAL ACCREDITATION as provided for in the Electoral Act. The Respondents shall contend that with the challenges presented by the Card Reader Machine, the process of Accreditation proceeded as was expressly provided for in the electoral act. There were no acts of non-compliance which materially affected the result of the election.”
He added that Messrs D.D.Dodo representing INEC at the Tribunal in Asaba, has in addition filed a motion to which a written address was attached. The written address speaks for itself particularly paragraph 5.17 where it was submitted that:
” It is our submission therefore the provisions in the manual that introduced Card Readers as mandatory means of accreditation of voters on election day is ultra vires, null and void since it is an attempt to amend the mandatory provisions of Section 49 of the Electoral Act. We urge your Lordship to so hold”.
The Delta APC state further that, “It is embarrassing that INEC which is supposed to be an independent Umpire is portrayed and seen as to be disowning its own approved guidelines and its decisions and position in order to defeat our clients’ election petition.
“We are shocked that INEC legal representation at the Tribunal will go directly head on against INEC’s official position which is in the public domain. Only recently, the just retired Chairman of INEC, Prof Jega publicly reinstated INEC’s official position confirming the mandatory use of Card Readers!
“We do not consider it right, fair or just for INEC or those acting on its behalf to attempt to denounce its own stated position, policy, guidelines and directives in other to assist anyone as that will put the well-earned reputation of INEC as a fair electoral Umpire at risk. It is our belief therefore that Messrs DODO is misrepresenting INEC and is acting outside your directives.
They therefore request that the Acting Chairman should use her good office to look into their complaints and take necessary steps to ensure that the, “integrity of INEC is not put into jeopardy. We demand that you take urgent steps to correct the anomalies we have pointed out.” They added.