Enough is Enough (EiE) Nigeria, a non-government organisation, has sent a freedom of information request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the usage data of card readers during the February 23 presidential and national assembly elections.
In a letter dated March 8, 2019 and signed by Seun Akinyemi, a research associate at EiE, the organisation specifically requested a breakdown of card reader usage state by state for polls.
The information, which it says INEC is mandated to provide within seven days according to the FoI law, should reveal the number of voters who were fully accredited via PVC verification and biometrics and also those who were partially accredited.
Akinyemi, who directed the letter to Mahmood Yakubu, a professor and chairman of INEC, said EIE is a non-partisan network of individuals and organisations “committed to building a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship”.
The research associate wrote: “Transparent electoral process is an essential condition to achieve good governance. Card reader has been adopted as means of accreditation for voting since the 2015 general elections.
“The card reader was also adopted as a means of accreditation during the 2019 elections with the slogan ‘No PVC, No Voting’.
“The accreditation process for the 2019 Presidential and the National Assembly elections has been the subject of intense public debate.
“Therefore, it is critical to study the accreditation patterns across the country to ensure the integrity of our electoral process.”
The letter was stamped received by the office of the INEC chairman on March 8.
According to INEC figures, 82,344,107 Nigerians registered to vote in the 2019 general election, out of which 82,002,024 were verified while a total of 72,775,585 voter cards (PVCs) were issued.
The commission also said 29,364,209 voters were accredited to vote on February 23, out of which 27,324,583 cast valid votes and 1,289,607 were rejected.
President Muhammadu Buhari (APC) had 15, 424,921 votes and Atiku Abubakar (PDP) 11,262,978 — a difference of 3.9 million.
However, the PDP is disputing the figures and Atiku has decided to challenge the outcome in court.
The court rejected his request to conduct forensic examination of the ballot papers.
The accreditation by card readers is considered to hold the key to the actual number of valid votes.