The failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the amended electoral Act Bill has been linked to major challenges that characterised the 2019 general elections.
Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State governor, who made the submission, said these challenges would have been avoided if Buhari had assented to the bill.
The governor, who spoke during a courtesy visit by a team from the British High Commission to Government House, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday, said the amended Electoral Act Bill would have legitimised the card reader and strengthened the process of result collation.
“If the President had assented to the amended Electoral Act, we wouldn’t have had the kind of problems we had.
“That means that there must be card reader in the electoral process. In that case, it makes it difficult for security agencies, who want to commit electoral fraud, to succeed.”
The governor said with the card reader given legal teeth, it would play a key role in the results that would emerge and discourage violence.
“With the card reader, results that don’t tally with accredited figures in the device will not be accepted. Since the card reader is not in the law, it creates the loopholes for them to manipulate.
“They created the room where some security agencies tried to force returning officers to sign result sheets. Remember in Rivers State, the Army took over the INEC headquarters. The essence of that was to see that the returning officers were hijacked for fraudulent purposes.
“But, if the card reader was legitimised in the Electoral Act, it would not have been possible, because the only acceptable result would be the one that tallies with the card reader. I have always said to Mr. President that in the interest of the country, let us do the right thing. Let us not politicise everything,” he said.
While saying that the amended Electoral Act when signed into law would restore confidence in the electoral system, Wike called for the demilitarisation of the nation’s democracy.