The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said that reported cases of malfunctioning of card readers deployed for the general election on Saturday might have been because its electoral officials failed to remove the protective film on the lens of the equipment.
Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, who spoke on Sunday in Abuja during a television programme reviewing voting exercise, admitted that there were isolated reports of machine malfunction due to poor handling by electoral officials.
“We received reports that some of the card readers may have failed to function, because officials that handled the devices may have failed to remove the protective film covering on the face of lens,” he said.
The INEC chairman’s spokesman further explained that the film may have blocked the lens of the card reader, making it difficult for it to read the biometric data in the permanent voter cards presented by voters for scanning.
Idowu, however, admitted this was not the only flaw identified in the new electoral process deployed during the election, stating that the commission had taken note of the challenges and would effect corrections in subsequent elections to ensure that the exercise is more credible and acceptable.
President Goodluck Jonathan was affected by the card reader malfunction as he was unable to get accreditation with the electronic device when he turned up at his Unit 13 polling station in his hometown in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, to vote.
For over 30 minutes, the electoral officials at the unit battled unsuccessfully to get the president accredited.
Despite about four of the devices deployed to ensure that the President and his wife were accredited, he still ended up being accredited manually to vote during the exercise after being issued the INEC incidence form.
The same card reader malfunction report was recorded in many other parts of the country and INEC had to issue instructions that manual accreditation be used in places that witnessed such failure of technology.