The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega has said that his Commission was set for the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 14, but the national security adviser, retired Colonel Dasuki Sambo, and the service chiefs forced them to be postponed to March and April.
Jega spoke when he appeared before the Senate to demonstrate the workings of the Permanent Voter Cards and Card Reader Machines. Jega said both electoral instruments are in accordance with the Electoral Laws.
The INEC boss said the Card Reader Machines can work for 12 hours without electricity. He also said they had been tested in 13 states.
According to him, the INEC is empowered to change the Temporary Voter Cards for the PVCs.
He said the six weeks period of extension for the elections will further ensure free and fair elections. Jega, according to the Eagle, tested the use of the PVC and the Card Reader Machines with the PVC of Senator Bukura Yerima.
As soon as the PVC was slotted into the Card Reader Machine, it displayed the photograph of Yerima, who is from Zamfara state.
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Jega also has revealed that his commission conducted a mock test on the card readers to be used in the 2015 general elections in all six geopolitical zones of the country. He said the card readers passed all thirteen tests it was subjected to which examined their effectiveness and reliability.
According to Daily Post, Jega noted that INEC national commissioners have been dispatched to the states to supervise the distribution of the voter cards, adding that they went with the card readers which would be distributed within the area they were sent to.
After Jega's presentation, the Commission’s director of ICT, Chidi Nwafor, addressed the senate on the nature of the card readers, their level of deployment and demonstrated how they work.
The process was also tested on Senator Chris Ngige, as well as Senator Bukola Saraki.
Jega added that it would be “unconstitutional” to postpone the elections again after the initial six-week move. “I don’t see how anybody can contemplate any extension beyond these six weeks because there are no constitutional grounds on which you can do that”, he is quoted as saying by Vanguard.
Earlier today the INEC released the latest figures showing the progress the commission has made in distributing permanent voters cards across the country as of February 17, 2015.