INEC to lobby lawmakers over Smart Card Reader

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– Agency: it must have legal status – Yakubu laments politicians attitude

THE Smart Card Reader (SCR) is a major route to an improved electoral system, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said on Tuesday.

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But the agency insisted that the SCR must be backed by law.

To achieve this among other reforms necessary to allow it conduct elections in a better atmosphere, INEC will spearhead a massive reform of the electoral law, its Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said.

Yakubu spoke against the backdrop of the lamentation by INEC’s National Commissioner (Voter Education), Mr. Festus Okoye, that politicians are circumventing the Smart Card Reader.

Okoye said the SCR has lost “its vibrancy” because politicians have found a way around it.

But Prof. Yakubu said INEC would engage the National Assembly to give SCR the legal backing.

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Yakubu, who spoke at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), said: “The judgment of the Supreme Court on the primacy of the voter register as the determinant of over-voting in law merely draws attention to the lacuna in the electoral legal framework.”

Yakubu said the lacuna needed to be addressed “through immediate and appropriate amendment to the Electoral Act.”

He added:  “The status of the SCR must be provided for and protected by law. Similarly, accreditation data from the SCR should be used to determine over-voting and the margin of lead principle.

”The commission will present a proposal to the National Assembly on this  matter as well as other areas in which further deployment of technology will deepen the integrity of our electoral process.

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