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e-transmission: We’re at crossroads – INEC laments

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it is at a crossroad over the electronic transmission of election results in Anambra governorship and other subsequent elections.

 

The National Assembly has refused to pass the electronic transmission of election results in the on-going amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act, leaving the decision to INEC and the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC). INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a quarterly meeting with leaders of political parties on yesterday, said the deployment of appropriate technology is crucial and desirable in the conduct of elections.

 

According to Prof. Yakubu, the Commission has been continuously innovating on how to strengthen the credibility of voter accreditation and result management during elections in Nigeria, adding that uploading of polling unit results in real-time on election day is one of them.

 

He noted that technology advances with the passage of time, stating that INEC “must keep pace with the ever- changing world of global information and communication technology.

 

“We are at one such crossroad at the moment.” Prof. Yakubu stated that as part of measures to strengthen Smart Card Reader (SCR) for authentication of fingerprints of voters and z-pad used to upload polling unit results to the IReV portal during elections, the Commission plans to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

 

This technology, Prof. Yakubu disclosed, will be used for fingerprint authentication during accreditation and where it fails for facial authentication.

 

“We believe that this multi-layer process will eliminate the possibility of voting by identity theft using another person’s PVC (permanent voter’s card).

 

“Where the voter fails both the fingerprint and facial authentication, he/she will not be allowed to vote. In other words, no electronic authentication, no voting,” he stated.

 

He expressed the confidence that the new machine would guarantee the credibility of voter authentication and transparent management of results during elections. Prof. Yakubu stated that the new device will be used during the Isoko South 1 State Assembly constituency by-election in Delta State, which holds this weekend. “The BVAS will now perform the functions of both the SCR and z-Pad in the byelection.

 

“Thereafter, it will be deployed in the Anambra governorship election in November,” he added. The INEC Chairman also decried the conflicting court orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction and said they are hampering the activities of the Commission.

 

According to him, some of the decided cases are making the work of INEC  “Difficult and we have been crying out loud for a long time. “In particular, some preelection litigation relating to the nomination of candidates for elections were not determined until after the elections.

 

“Consequently, in some instances, political parties were declared winners without candidates to immediately receive the certificates of return on account of protracted and conflicting litigations or where courts rather than votes determine winners of elections.”

He also noted that the leadership crises in some political parties is making the regulatory responsibilities of the commission difficult, adding that: “It appears that in a number of electoral cases in Nigeria today, the settled law is now unsettled and the time-honoured principle of stare decisis does not seem to matter any longer.”

 

Prof. Yakubu appreciated the intervention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and promised to work with both the Bar and the Bench to defend the electoral process in the best interest of the democracy.

 

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