Card Readers: APC,PDP in war of words

Reports

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on Thursday described the energy. being allegedly dissipated by the All Progressive Congress (APC) in advocating for the use of card readers in the coming general elections as another sinister motive of the party to cause confusion during and after the election.

Fayose, who said this in a statement made available to journalists by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, noted that APC is known for its penchant for promotion of confusion and division in Nigeria for political gain even at the expense of the well being and unity of the country.

He explained that in as much as the usage of the card reader is noble, the preparation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for it has been very poor and that this could be a conspiracy between the electoral body with the APC if the agitation of the APC on the card readers is anything to rely upon.

Fayose explained that INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, has told Nigerian that the batteries of the card readers can go flat at most five hour which means that unless there is alternative power supply the machine will be rendered useless after the battery has gone flat.

"The question now is: will the INEC provide power generators in each of the poling unit in the whole country so that by the time the battery is down the electoral officers could switch to the alternative power? Without this the introduction of the card readers is nonsense," the governor asked.

Fayose also said that Nigerian should know that INEC has never hidden the fact that the card readers are internet based in delivery and considering the fact that most of the Nigeria towns and villages are not fixed with internet, that means that the card cannot deliver until when they get to where there is internet to deliver the result.

"Then it means that the usage would be a failure because a lot of contradictory information would have dealt havoc on the entire exercise before the card reader can deliver its results," he said.

Fayose stressed that when the election in Ekiti and Osun States were conducted, the Independent National Electoral Commission did not use the card readers and "APC did not cry wolf. So also when the governorship elections in Anambra and Edo states were conducted without card readers, APC didn't raise a foot but now that they know there is no way its presidential candidate can win without rigging, they want Nigerians to see sense in the usage of card readers that had never be tested or acknowledged to be free from manipulation.

"I can say boldly that the leadership of APC has a hidden agenda in the usage of the card readers; that is why their clamour for it has been so vociferous when they know ab initio that there is no way their party can win this election," he said.

"They are looking for pre-emptive excuses for violence during and after the election so that they can gain some undue sympathy whereas the usage of the card reader is not important to the election as the availability of security which they campaigned against like hell on earth," he said.

He added that APC as a party has never supported or advanced the course of progress of Nigeria.

"Rather the party enjoys seeing the nation in crisis always; that is why their recent clamour for the usage of card reader has further exposed their retrogressive antics," he said.

Meanwhile, APC has counter argued that PDP's public avowal to oppose the use of Card Readers in this month's rescheduled election has shown the accuracy of the its accusations that the ruling party is doing all in its powers to either prevent the election from holding or to rig it.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party described as very curious the fact that the PDP that rushed to the press to deny the APC's claims quickly turned around to confirm them.

"At the press conference we addressed on Wednesday, which rattled the PDP and the Jonathan Administration so much, we listed the conditionalities of the PDP/Jonathan Administration for holding the election: No PVCs, No Card Readers, No Jega and the fact that they

want the military deployed to harass and intimidate voters.

"We mentioned 'Card Readers' at least three times during the press conference, and said they (PDP/Jonathan administration are doing

everything possible to sabotage the machine and prevent its use.

"Both the spokesmen for the PDP and the Jonathan Campaign Organisation rushed to the press to deny any such 'reprehensible' plan. But a few hours later, the spokesman for the campaign

organisation told an incredulous country that they would oppose the use of Card Reader, apparently after the spokesmen were overruled by

their party. Obviously, these men are outsiders in their own party and it is now obvious that the opposition knows more about the inner workings of their party than they do," it said.

APC said that in an apparently-choreographed show, some 15 portfolio political parties called a press conference to also announce that they will oppose the use of the Card Reader, vowing to boycott the elections and use a legal process to prevent the use of the machine.

The party said these syndicated threats are the latest indications of the mortal fear in the corridors of power about the machine that has now become the nemesis of election riggers and manipulators worldwide.

It said contrary to the claim by the PDP, Nigerians are ready for a free, fair and credible elections to be made possible by the use of the Card Reader, and will massively resist any move to dump the machine.

"Nigerians have sacrificed all they can to obtain their PVCs, which is now their most-prized possession. They have also hailed the plan by INEC to use the Card Reader to give Nigeria credible polls. Only dishonest politicians, those who plan to rig, those who have engaged in a massive purchase of PVCs and those who have something to hide are opposed to the use of the machine.

"For the avoidance of doubt, our party is ready for any tool, including the Card Reader, that will ensure that the votes of Nigerians will count in the forthcoming election. In this regard, we sincerely hope that the nationwide tests of the Card Reader to be carried out this week by INEC will not be sabotaged by those opposed to the machine. The Card Reader has been demonstrated to work, including at the Senate, and no one must come out to tell Nigerians anything to the contrary."The huge investments in providing PVCs for Nigerians will not be worthwhile if the cards would not be authenticated by Card Readers which, by the way, have been used in many other countries, all of them less endowed than Nigeria, in Africa," APC said.

The party said it is taking the forthcoming elections very seriously and closel monitoring every move of those who do not want the elections to hold, or if they must hold at all, only on their own terms.

It said, for example, that the party (APC) is aware of an all-night meeting (Wednesday/Thursday) between a South-west Governor and security chiefs on how to rig the forthcoming polls in the geo-political zone, but it remains convinced that no one is powerful enough to stop an idea whose time has come.

APC thanked Nigerians, both within and outside the government, for their efforts in keeping a close eye on those planning to sabotage the forthcoming polls, imploring them not to relent since eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.