Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media, says his principal is the country’s number one fan of card reader.
Shehu said this in response to criticisms which trailed Buhari’s refusal to give assent to the electoral act amendment bill.
Some critics said Buhari was averse to card reader but Shehu explained that electronic voting and use of card readers was not the issue.
“The presidency rejects allegations of opposition politicians, as well as some newspaper editorial opinions creating the impression that President Muhammadu Buhari is against e-voting, the use of card readers in the upcoming elections, hence his decision to decline assent, for the third time, to the electoral act amendment bill,” the president’s spokesman said in a statement on Sunday.
“We wish to state in clear and unambiguous terms that the issue of e-voting and use of card readers was never an issue for the president’s decision to decline assent to the bill.
“It is equally important that this issue was not raised either by the executive or the legislature in the recent reviews. Moreover, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) adoption of e-voting reforms is enshrined in the 2015 amendment act to the electoral reform act. Card reader is therefore a settled matter.
“The president’s recent decision to decline assent to the bill has no effect whatsoever on INEC’s use of card readers.
“The president is the country’s number one fan of the card reader. For a candidate who ran three times and ‘lost’ in an electoral environment in which votes were allocated and losers asked to go to court if they felt unhappy, the president knows fully well the role that the card reader played in his emergence in 2015.”
Shehu said Buhari had directed his aides to liaise with the legislature for the corrections to be effected on the bill.
“He has said times without number that he would strengthen and widen its application in the country and this, he is determined to do,” he said.
“We would like to appeal, especially to the media to disregard baseless allegations against the president, even as he puts in his best efforts in working with the national assembly to give the nation a good electoral law, and in time.
“The card reader is not in danger of being discarded. It is a sine qua non for credible elections. We appeal to the national assembly to reconvene as soon as possible to consider and approve the necessary corrections to the amended electoral act.”