President Muhammadu Buhari is not against the use of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and card readers for the general elections in 2019.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said this in a statement.
He made the comment while reacting to allegations that President Buhari has refused to assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 because he does not support the use of PVCs and card readers in the forthcoming polls.
Shehu said, “The allegations that the President declined to assent to the bill because of objections to the use of card readers are wild and baseless. President Buhari did not and has never raised any objections to the use of card readers for elections in Nigeria.”
“On the contrary, he has always been a passionate advocate for the use of PVCs and card readers in elections in Nigeria, mindful of the role that card readers and PVCs played in the election that brought him into office; and he has repeatedly made this clear and praised these technologies,” he added.
The presidential aide recalled that President Buhari had, while hosting the judiciary to the customary breaking of the Ramadan Fast in May, said he won the election because of the technology after three attempts.
He quoted the President as saying, “These Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and Card Readers, they’re fantastic. Those who went to their polling booths in their constituencies, and put in their votes, their votes counted. Before, votes were disregarded, [results] were just written, and there was nothing you could do before the [judiciary] to prove your case.”
Shehu insisted that the President has always supported the use of PVCs for elections, as well as encouraged Nigerians that their PVC was their national card ensure they do not lose them.
On the President’s assent to the bill, he said the National Assembly forwarded the bill to the Presidency at the end of June and after an extensive consideration, the Presidency engaged with the lawmakers to raise concerns regarding some errors in the submitted version.
The President’s spokesman noted that the Senate passed a re-considered bill on July 24 and was received by the Presidency on August 3.
He said the bill is still under consideration by the Presidency and the President has 30 days from the date of receipt, to assent to or decline the bill.
Shehu added, “None of these clauses reviewed and revised by the National Assembly in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 relates to the issue of electronic voting or to the use of card readers.”
“The President also did not raise any objections whatsoever to the use of card readers,” he reiterated.