April 11 Governorship poll in Rivers - it Was clear that Only 293,072 out of the said 1,029, 102 voters accredited – Election tribunal in Abuja.
There was fresh revelation Tuesday as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) disclosed that only 293,072 voters were accredited for the April 11 governorship poll in Rivers State.
INEC Deputy Director on Information Communication Technology (ICT), Mrs. Abimbola Oladunjoye disclosed this during the ongoing Rivers State governorship election tribunal in Abuja.
This was contrary to initial disclosure by the electoral commission which put the total number of accredited voters to about 1,029, 102.
Oladunjoye revealed the data after persistent questioning by the Counsel to the petitioner, Mr Akinlolu Olujimi, (SAN).
The respondent lawyers which include; Onyechi Ikpeazu (INEC), Emmanue Okala (for Wike) and Chris Uche (for PDP) made effort to discourage the witness from disclosing the information which according to them was already in the document presented to the Tribunal Chairman, Justice Mohammed Ambrosa.
According to Oladunjoye, who is also INEC Head of Data Management Unit explained that the information gathered from card readers were periodically uploaded to the central server of the commission automatically.
She said though, it may be delayed due to network interruption.
“I am aware that the commission took a decision that the smart card reader should be used for accreditation on governorship election.
“On election day every voters are supposed to come to the polling unit with his or her voters’ card. The Incident Form is issued to a voter when the card reader cannot successfully accredit him or her and this.
“The server was available for the card reader data uploading throughout the period of the election and was shut down six weeks after the election,’’ Oladunjoye added.
When cross-examined by INEC counsel, Ikpeazu, (SAN), Oladunjoye said that the card reader machine used for the presidential election was the same used for governorship.
According to her, the only issue in the card reader machine is that the machines were only reconfigured before the governorship election.
She also said that if a voter card was damaged, the card reader machine may not be able to recognise it, adding that, if it was dirty, the card reader will still recognise it.
“If a card is damage, the card reader may not be able to recognise it, the card reader are RF ID card which has antennal; the card reader communicate to the antennal to enable it read.
“So if the card is dirty, I don’t think there is a problem,’’ She added.
When further questioned by the Counsel to Wike, Ukala, (SAN) during cross examination, Oladunjoye disclosed that the card reader recognises information which includes the registration area, polling unit and serial number of voters.
Other information recognised by the card reader machine are Local Government Area, delimitation constituency, a signal of a fail or successful accreditation and total number of accredition made by the machine.
Earlier, Senior Police Officer, Mr. Tafa Michael from Mopol 48, AHODA, Rivers state told the tribunal that he was able to make arrest of over 70 people in Seme, a satellite town in the state as a result of the distress call he got from his superior officers on the day of election.
According to Michael, the call came in at about 12: 45 p.m. and that he quickly moves into action alongside his team to the town where he was directed to go.
“On arrival at Seme, there was a compound opposite the PDP secretariat which I was informed by people living in that area that, inside the house there are a lot of people with electoral materials.
“I came down with my men from our vehicle and we met the people including some security men jubilating with electoral material inside the compound.
“They came there with a lorry and we evacuated them to our place after taking some shot of them with our phones,’’ the witness said.
Michael listed Corp members, INEC ad-hoc staffs, PDP party agent with electoral materials like card reader machine, thumb printed ballot papers, electoral boxes, inkpad, T-Shirts and other security personnel as those recovered from the said compound.
According to the witness, after leaving that venue, they took the people to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Nigerian Police.