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Reactions trail permanent voters’ cards

16 April 2013, 10:13

Lagos - More reactions on Monday trailed the approval granted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce permanent voters’ cards ahead of the 2015 polls.

Some politicians, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), lauded the initiative, saying it would help to curb electoral malpractice.

Others, however, believed that it would give room for corruption in the country.

NAN reports that the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, had on April 10 disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved N2.1billion for INEC, for the printing of 33.5 million permanent voters’ cards.

The minister said the card, which would have a life span of 10 years, would contain unique biometric features that would help to identify the voter.

In 2012, FEC also approved N2.6 billion for the printing of the  first phase of 40 million out of the 75 million permanent voters’ cards needed in the country for general elections.

There are 73.5 million temporary cards awaiting replacement.

Chief Olatunji Shelle, the Lagos State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described the idea as laudable.

``Permanent voter’s cards will help to curb electoral malpractice, such as multiple voting and other frauds.

``Anybody who has such a card, which will also serve as a national identity card, can only have one card and not multiple cards.

``It cannot be used by another person to vote," he told NAN.

Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, the initiator of a political group-- the Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria (PMNN), also supported the idea.

 He said:``I think it is a very good idea; we have been calling for such initiatives."

Alhaji Musa Umar, the Protem Deputy National Chairman of the Merger Support Group of the All Progressive Congress, also gave his support for the project.

``It seems the project is a good idea. It will encourage and empower Nigerians to participate in the electoral process.

``It will also save the country of yearly expenditures on issuance of new voters’ cards before elections.’’

Winston Odum-Ojobi, the Deputy National Chairman of the deregistered United Nigeria Peoples Party of Nigeria (UNPP), endorsed it ''if the permanent voter’s cards would serve as identification cards and prevent multiple voting''.

Sunny Moniedafe, a former FCT Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said he preferred that a national identity card with security features like photograph barcode, micro-text and fingerprints, could be used as voters’ cards.

``We need a permanent card that can be used for voting and identification.

``If the voters’ cards are not properly done it will give room for replacement.

``This is not good for our democracy and it may give room for corruption," he also told NAN.


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