– Okonta Emeka, Delta State.
Okonta Emeka interviews Rt Hon Peter Onwusanya – The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly – during the nationwide pilot testing run of Permanent Voter Card (PVC) card readers by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). At Asaba Primary School, Asaba, his ward 4 polling station, Rt Hon Onswusanya shared his thoughts on the exercise.
“Card Reader? I don’t have confidence in it”
– When asked, what level of confidence he has in the operations of the card reader, his response was straight and blunt.
“Card Reader? I don’t have confidence in it” Rt Hon Onwusanya expressed. “Imagine, it takes about 1-2 minutes to get a voter accredited. I have my fears and doubts about this card reader. I have always asked – what alternatives do we have if we experience any operational break down or any challenge in the card reader’s mechanism?
– On the threats of about 15 political parties, who threatened to boycott the general election on account of using the card reader, Rt Hon Onwusanya threw his support around their agitation.
“On a personal note, I would like to say that I support their agitation. First, the card reader is just a new innovation, our voters are not used to and well informed about. Second, it’s coming up at a very critical moment in our democracy – the timing is wrong.”
“At a very critical moment in our democracy – the timing is wrong“
“I am of the opinion that this card reader be used in past elections, at least then we have some enough time to test the workability of the device. In my personal opinion, I think there are still dangers, gaps and challenges using a device we are not conversant with, especially at this moment of our nation’s democracy.
Though Rt Hon Onwusanya shared his scepticism as to how successful the process will be, he confirmed that he believed his constituents will vote.
“I think my people for the large will turn out and demonstrate their confidence in active participation and in civic engagement.”