Council Polls: Card Reader Fails FCT Senator, As APGA Protests Omission On Ballot | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Council Polls: Card Reader Fails FCT Senator, As APGA Protests Omission On Ballot

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Posted: Apr 9, 2016 at 7:37 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuzor Emejor and Jide Oyekunle ABUJA


Senator Philip Aduda, representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was on Saturday compelled to do manual accreditation in the FCT council elections, as the card reader failed to capture him.

Aduda, after several attempts to be captured by card reader, eventually resorted to filling the incidence form at the Old Chief’s Palace Polling Unit, Karu, Abuja Municipal  Area Council (AMAC), before he eventually cast his vote at 12:08p.

Addressing newsmen shortly after casting his ballot, the senator, who was elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the incident as “unfortunate.”

According to him, “The card readers in most places are not functioning. They now said that we should use manual.

“Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has come out to say in their judgments that they have  not recognised card readers. For these card readers not to work, it is unfortunate.

“Having done general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission should have come up with a system where there should be improvement.

“Unfortunately, for me, what I have seen, the card readers are still having hiccups and issues.

“It was a serious surprise for me to find out that the card reader could not read my thumb print. I had to go manual. I had to fill incidence form.”

Asked whether he would bring up the issue on the floor of the Senate, he said he was studying the situation alongside other elections to see what can be done.

Commenting on the arrest of some PDP members on the eve of the election, Aduda said it would not deter the party from winning the elections.

His words: “There is a level which you can coerce people to support and elect you. Let me assure you that our teeming supporters are not deterred.

“We are doing what we are doing within the context of the law to ensure that the elections are peaceful.

“We have never had any problem with FCT elections. After the elections, we will  still come back to the roundtable to discuss the peace and progress of FCT, irrespective of our party affiliations.”

Meanwhile, there was a heavy downpour that disrupted voting in many areas, as people on the queue scampered for cover.

Accreditation and voting in most units commenced immediately after the downpour.

At the polling unit where Aduda voted, accreditation and voting commenced simultaneously few minutes past eight in the morning.

The Presiding Officer told Independent that the process was peaceful.

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has protested the ommission of its name and logo on the ballot papers used in the area council elections.

Scores of APGA supporters took to the streets in protest, calling for the cancellation of the elections. The protesters in their numbers picketted a polling unit at Model Primary School, Usuma Ward, Kubwa, Bwari Area Council, shortly after they discovered that the name and logo of their party were not on the ballot papers.

The controversy began when officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) handed over the APGA agent accreditation tag to the representative of the party with the logo and name of the party on the accreditation tag but when the time for voting commenced the agent observed that the name and logo of the party were not on the ballot papers.

When the party agent questioned the INEC officials, a reasonable explanation could not be given, and as such APGA members and supporters left the polling station.

It was later discovered that the ballot papers for the councillors’ election for Usuma Ward had similar problem.

According to the Bwari Ward Returning Officer of APGA, Emmanuel Nwachukwu, “Our candidate had fulfilled the entire electoral requirement as set by the INEC. We conducted primary elections and submitted to the INEC and they acknowledged it.

“EC4B was also submitted by the party. Our candidate scaled through all the screening.  This is a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise the teeming population of APGA supporters. When this similar incident happened in 2013 in this Usuma Ward, when our name was removed from the ballot papers, we went to court and the court ruled that the electoral body should not remove the name of the party in the subsequent elections.

“Now INEC has flagrantly disobeyed the court order while our candidate met the requirement.”