It sounds shocking though but may not be too different from what use to happen in Nigerians electoral process where the figure of results declared is usually a far departure from the consistent report of voter apathy. The major difference between then and now may be the introduction of the card reader device.
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday told the Rivers State governorship election petition tribunal that out of the 1,029,102 votes declared after the election, only 293,072 was accredited to vote.
An Assistant Director in the Information Communication Technology who is also the Head of Data Management Unit of INEC, Abimbola Oladunjoye, while being led in evidence by Counsel to the petitioner, Akinlolu Olujimi, told the tribunal how the card reader works.
“I am aware that the commission took a decision that the smart card reader should be used for accreditation on governorship election. On election day, every voter is supposed to come to the polling unit with his or her voters card. “
“The Incident Form is issued to a voter when the card reader cannot successfully accredit him or her’. .
“The server was available for the card reader data uploading throughout the period of the election and was shut down six weeks after the election,’’ she said.
Under cross examination by the counsel to the Governor Wike, Emmanuel Ukala and that of the PDP, Chris Uche, Mrs Oladunjoye said that the card reader machine recognises information like the registration area, polling unit and serial number of the voter.
Other information recognised by the card reader machine are Local Government Area, delimitation constituency, a signal of a fail or successful accreditation and total number of accreditation made by the machine.
A Senior Police Officer, Mr Tafa Michael, had earlier told the tribunal that he arrested more than 70 people in Seme, a satellite town in Tai local government of the state as a result of the distress call he got from his superior officers on election day.
“I came down with my men from our vehicle and we met the people, including some security men jubilating with election material inside the compound.
“They came there with a lorry and we evacuated them to our place after taking some shot of them with our phones,’’ the witness said.
Michael also said that the snap shot he took with his phone was transferred to a flash drive and that he printed some pictures out from it.
All the respondents counsel urged the tribunal not to admit in evidence the documents produced by this witness including the flash drive.
According to the respondents counsel, all the materials brought by the police officer were not pleaded and that they did not satisfy the provision of Section 84 of the Evidence Act.
Meanwhile, Justice Suleman Ambrosa, the tribunal Chairman, declined to admit the document in evidence as prayed by Counsel to the petitioner saying that they are not satified.