The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is not banning the use of smartphones around polling unit areas, except the moment a prospective voter enters the voting cubicle to cast his or her vote.
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Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, made the declaration in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, yesterday.
He stated this in reaction to a statement issued by the the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, who condemned INEC’s purported decision to ban the use of smartphones at polling booths.
But, Oyekanmi said Nigerians are aware of the challenge of vote-buying and selling; which reared its ugly head in recent elections and that that had prompted many stakeholders to call on INEC to devise innovative ways to tackle the problem.
“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 smartphones 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 a 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.”
Oyekanmi urged Nigerians to disregard any attempt by any individual or group to politicise what was purely a preventive measure.
Secondus had, in a statement by his Media Adviser Ike Abonyi, in Abuja, yesterday, alleged that the decision was to perfect rigging formula for the ruling All Progressives (APC).