In the wake of the failure of the newly-introduced card readers, currently being used in Nigeria’s electioneering process, President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday, March 28, 2015 said the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, was in the best position to explain the anomaly.
Speaking to newsmen in his hometown, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, shortly after casting his vote, President Jonathan urged Nigerians to be patient, as the system is a new one which was bound to have several hiccups.
President Jonathan said: “Let me use this opportunity to congratulate our dear country Nigeria and all those who have voted and would still vote, for their patience; they should sympathise with INEC.
“INEC wants to use the card readers to make sure that our electoral process is credible and acceptable by international observers. Somehow, being the first time we are practising with the card readers, there have been some issues in some units, but please bear with them. I believe at the end of the day, we all will be happy.
“I have information but it is not all the information I have that I can say because INEC has the responsibility to talk about their own functions.
“The basic thing is that a number of places complained about the PVCs and card readers not working at the same time. INEC has directed that at voting units where the card readers are not working, they should take the manual option so I believe all Nigerians who want to vote will definitely vote and that is good news.
“The only thing is that some people must have stayed there longer than necessary, but I still plead with them that even if they spend 24 hours for the sake of this country, they should bear with us.
“I’m not putting blame on INEC, the government is one. I don’t blame INEC, judiciary, police, soldiers and executives. I am the president of the country. As a nation, we have different departments that handle responsibility. The issue of elections is INEC’s exclusive responsibility and nobody will speak for them. Even if i have some information, I can not speak for INEC. Jega is the only one that can speak for INEC. I speak for the federal government.
“I am very hopeful. You are here in my very home and you have seen that it is peaceful everywhere. I believe and I’m convinced that the elections will be free and fair.
“I don’t think the issue of the card readers are limited to my local government. If the card readers are not working, it is not limited to Bayelsa State. We have similar issues in Anambra state. In fact, the governor in Anambra state called and was boiling. I told him to calm down.
“We have similar issue in Delta State. I am aware that INEC has directed the RECS that in places that the card readers are not working, they should take the manual option. If the card readers are not working, definitely they will use the manual option. I don’t think it is limited to PDP-controlled states; I think it is national.”