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2011 ELECTIONS: ACN ALLEGES PLAN TO USE MANUAL REGISTER BY SUBTERFUGE

By NBF News
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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned that manual voters' registers may be used by subterfuge for the forthcoming general elections, thus making it possible for those who have either engaged in multiple registration or purchased voter's cards to massively rig the polls.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said apart from ruining the polls, since whoever possesses a voter's card can vote anywhere and several times, the use of a manual register will also mean that the millions of dollars spent on the electronic voter registration had gone down the drain. 

Explaining how a manual register may be used by INEC, the party said if the electoral body failed to use the same DDC machines used to register voters at the various polling stations where they were used for the registration, it will be impossible to verify the fingerprints of each voter, hence he/she can vote as many times as possible.

'The voter registration exercise was designed to ensure that only qualified voters would register and vote. The fingerprints captured during registration are stored in the system of each DDC machine, since there is no central data base as we have said in earlier statements. 

'On election day, the fingerprints of each voter are to be taken again and compared with what has been stored in the computer. If the record is found, the person is considered authentic and should be allowed to vote. Once he/she has voted, the record will be updated to reflect that, and that person should not be allowed to vote again in the same election.

'It is, therefore, absolutely important that the computer used during registration, which now contains the records of all voters registered at a particular polling station, must be brought back to the same polling unit on voting day to be used in the verification as indicated above. If the computer is not brought back and used to verify and authenticate each voter, only the manual register would be used, even though the people will be made to believe the system is foolproof since they will still be fingerprinted anyway,'' CAN said. 

The party wondered whether the fact that the PDP has been secretly intimated with this possibility is responsible for the planned 'house-to-house' campaign by the Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organization, which will allow it to fraudulently procure wholesale voter's cards, using a combination of enticement and harassment contrary to Section 23(1) of the Electoral act 2011, and then using the cards to massively rig the elections.

ACN therefore warned that nothing short of the electronic voter's register, backed by the same system used for the registration exercise to allow the authentication of voters, will be accepted during the April polls.  The party said the need to authenticate would-be voters at the various polling units has been made more urgent by the fact that the so-called AFIS software to detect double/multiple registration has been shown not to be foolproof due to the human factor.