Members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives yesterday protested against a decision by the lower chamber to give the use of card reader for elections a constitutional backing.
Amid intense opposition from members of the PDP, the House, presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, consolidated and passed through the second reading, a bill seeking amendments to four aspects of the Electoral Act, which borders on use of card readers for elections, death of presidential or gubernatorial candidate, party disclosure on funds as well as diaspora voting.
The House also passed through second reading, an alteration of the 2010 Electoral Act by incorporating diaspora voting in the presidential elections in the country.
If the bill becomes law, vice-presidential and deputy governorship candidates will be empowered to assume the position of candidates if their principal candidate dies before the completion of an election.
Leading the opposition on the bill, Minority Leader and PDP caucus leader, Hon. Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta), who noted the difference between electronic voting and card reader, stated that the card reader was nothing but an instrument used to disenfranchise Nigerians.
Ogor, who argued that rather than improve the electoral process, the card did more damage to the voting than harm saying that if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wants to introduce electronic voting, it should do so, but stressed that the PDP would oppose any attempt to introduce card readers into the Electoral Act.
He said: “Card reader is an instrument of disenfranchising Nigerians. INEC should wake up to their responsibility. We should go for clear electronic voting. “Any attempt to introduce the card readers into the Electoral Act, we will go fully against it,” Ogor warned.