2019: Buhari In Support Of PVC, Card Reader, Presidency Says


The Presidency on Wednesday said contrary to media reports (The PUNCH not included), President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the use of card readers for the 2019 general elections.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the clarification in a statement made available to journalists.

Shehu said the allegations that the President declined to assent to the amended Electoral Bill because of objections to the use of card readers were wild and baseless.

He said Buhari did not and had never raised any objection to the use of card readers for elections in Nigeria.

On the contrary, the presidential spokesman said the President had always been a passionate advocate for the use of Permanent Voter Cards and card readers in elections in Nigeria, mindful of the role they played in the election that brought him into office.

He said Buhari had repeatedly made his position clear.

Recalling when the President was hosting the judiciary to the customary breaking of the Ramadan fast on May 28, he quoted Buhari as saying, “I tried [running for President] three times, and ended up in court three times. The fourth time, I eventually made it, thanks to God and thanks to technology.

“These Permanent Voter Cards 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. But now with technology, it has been made easy.

“That is why I keep on appealing to the governors, to please do voter education. Tell the people that their voter card is their national card, so to speak. Let them vote anybody they want across ethnicity and religion.

“I’m begging the governors to please continue to do voter education so that people will take their Permanent Voter Cards seriously, and make sure they don’t lose them.”

Shehu said none of the clauses reviewed and revised by the National Assembly in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, related to the issue of electronic voting or to the use of card readers.

He said the President also did not raise any objections whatsoever to the use of card readers, contrary to the stories being peddled by sections of the media and on the Internet.

He also reiterated the Presidency’s position that Buhari had not rejected the amended bill.

He said, “The Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was sent by the National Assembly to the Presidency at the end of June 2018, for assent.

“Following extensive consideration, the Presidency engaged with the National Assembly to raise concerns regarding errors and inconsistencies found in the submitted version. Following this, the National Assembly, on July 24, 2018, met to review and correct the Bill.

“The Bill was given, on July 24, 2018, a ‘clause by clause consideration’ by the Senate.

“The Votes and Proceedings from the Senate on July 24, 2018, attest to this. The Senate resolved to rescind its decision on a number of clauses included in the version they had earlier sent for consideration by the President and to reconsider these clauses.”