Technical issues with fingerprint readers delay Nigeria’s presidential election

Some of Nigeria’s newly-introduced mobile fingerprint identification readers failed to allow citizens to cast their ballots during the country’s presidential election on Saturday, according to a report by BBC News.

Many of the fingerprint identification readers that representatives from the Independent National Electoral Commission were using to validate voter ID cards, failed to work.

President Goodluck Jonathan and at least three governors from his ruling party were among the voters who were unable to electronically validate their identities using the machines, forcing INEC officials to resort to manual verification.

Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called the incident a “huge national embarrassment” and a “vindication” of their opposition against the biometric recognition technology.

“There should have been a test-run for a smaller election before deploying it for an election of this magnitude,” said Jonathan’s presidential campaign spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode.

Meanwhile, Jonathan’s main opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, managed to successfully register his vote using the smart card readers.

In a NTA state television interview, INEC chairman Attahiru Jega said that what happened to Jonathan was “regrettable and a national embarrassment”, but maintained that “in general, [the INEC] believes that in spite of the challenges things have gone very well” and that voter turn-out was “quite large”.

Approximately 300 of the 150,000 polling stations reopened on Sunday to accommodate those voters who were unable to cast their ballot because of the failed biometric card readers.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the election’s overall results will be announced within 48 hours of polls closing.

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