Nigeria’s major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the use of card readers for the general election.
In a suit filed before the federal high court in Abuja, the party asked the court to restrict INEC from postponing elections in any polling unit as a result of a malfunctioning card reader.
INEC had said elections in the case where a smart card reader malfunctions, voting will be suspended till a new card reader arrives, or postponed till the next day if a replacement is not available by 2 pm.
In the suit dated February 11 a copy of which was sent to newsmen, the party argued that INEC’s insistence — in its regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the elections — that a voter’s identity must be confirmed by the card reader is inconsistent with provisions of the electoral act.
The paragraph states: “10. (a) In accordance with Section 49 (2) of the Electoral Act, a person intending to vote shall be verified to be the same person on the Register of Voters by use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in the manner prescribed in these Regulations and Guidelines.
“(b) Any poll official who violates the provision of Clause 10 (a) shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to prosecution.”
The party said this particular regulation does not align with section 49 of the electoral act. The section states: “(1) A person intending to vote with his voter’s card, shall present Issue of ballot papers himself to a Presiding Officer at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered with his voter’s card.