The election body in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has tested the card readers that would be used in the general election in a mock exercise conducted in twelve States across the country.
The mock test comes amid controversy over the use of the new device in the conduct of the next general election.
In Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, the mock accreditation test commenced as early as 7:00am at Ikeja local government, the designated area for the test.
Officials of the electoral body were at the fifty-five polling units selected for the test as early as 7:00am to accredit prospective voters who came out in trickles to observe the procedure.
Many of the voters and election observers who took part in the exercise commended the electoral commission for the initiative which takes a minimum of ten seconds and maximum of eighteen seconds for a voter to get accredited.
The procedure, however had hitches at some polling units where the card reader could not capture the finger prints of some voters who had the permanent voters card and whose names were on the register.
The electoral officials attributed this to the kind of occupation such voters do for a living which may have caused blisters on their fingers,thereby hampering the ability of the machine to capture them.
INEC Resident electoral commissioner for Lagos State Akin Orebiyi assured Lagosians of the commission’s readiness to conduct a free, fair and credible election while dispelling the fears of those opposed to the use of the card readers.
He said that apart from the fact that the card reader was designed to function effectively; it would also enhance the credibility of the polls.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress have been engaged in war of words over the use of the card reader in the forthcoming polls.
While the PDP had said that the party did not support the use of the device because it is illegal and unconstitutional and that it had not been tested in any election in the past, the APC described the PDP’s rejection of the use of the device as a vindication of its claim that the ruling party was desperate.