The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said banning of smartphones by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at polling centres is a strategic plan to rig Nigeria’s 2019 elections.
National Chairman of PDP Uche Secondus made the allegation Tuesday, asking why would INEC ban the use of smartphones during voting “when it is the easiest means of communication in the society.”
“We have all heard what the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, said about the decision to ban the use of smartphones in the polling units. All over the world, a smartphone is the easiest way of communication.
“What they have said clearly shows that the commission, in connivance with the APC, has perfected a rigging strategy for the next election.
“In fact, INEC has sent Nigeria back to the primitive days. The same plan to rig the 2019 election is responsible for the refusal of the President to sign the amended Electoral Act because the card reader must be used.
“Our position is that INEC is wrong, there is nowhere in the constitution or in the Electoral Act where smartphones are banned. So, INEC will be held responsible if it throws this country into crisis.”
INEC reacts, says “We didn’t ban phones around polling units”
Reacting, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has not ban the use of Smartphone around the polling unit areas.
The use of phones “will not be allowed” immediately a prospective voter entered voting cubicle to cast his or her vote, INEC said.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, was said to have made the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on in Abuja Wednesday.
Mr Oyekanmi said Nigerians were fully aware of the challenge of vote-buying and selling during election.
“In consultation with other stakeholders, the Commission came up with new measures to solve the problem, one of which is to disallow the use of smart phones and other electronic devices in the voting cubicles on election day.
“In other words, INEC is not banning phones around the polling unit area, but the ban takes effect from the moment a prospective voter collects his or her ballot paper and enters into voting cubicle to thumb print and thereafter drop the folded ballot paper into the ballot box.
“After that, the voter can have access to his or her phone.”
Mr Oyekanmi urged Nigerians to disregard any attempt by politicians to politicise the plan of the electoral body aimed at preventing vote buying during elections.
INEC method is commendable, but more than 80% of vote buying takes place before election day or at polling units.
Winner of election in Nigeria is gradually being determined by the highest bidder. Vote buying will automatically stop when electorates are genuinely aware of the implications of their actions.