- Nigeria's electoral commission, INEC, wants to embrace technology ahead of the 2023 general elections
- Leading the charge is the chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmud Yakubu
- The INEC chairman wants federal lawmakers to amend the country's electoral laws so as to accommodate e-transmission of results
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, October 15 unfolded plans to seek legal backing for electronic voting beginning from the 2023 general elections.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu said the manual collation, which is enshrined in the laws, is too cumbersome and expensive.
Professor Yakubu made his stance known at the inauguration of the House of Representatives special ad-hoc committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution.
He urged the lawmakers to accelerate the process, reminding them that they have exactly 855 days to amend the law before the commencement of the general elections.
“The process of collating result is sometimes chaotic because the law says that you must write results manually and collate them manually right from the polling unit to the ward, from the ward to the local government, then, the state and from the state to the national level in the case of the presidential election.
“A lot has been achieved abroad with a simple application of technology. So, the encumbrances to the deployment of technology in the transmission of election results should be removed as part of this process.”
He further urged the legislators to expedite legislative action on the setting up of the Electoral Offences Tribunal for the trial of electoral offenders.
“There must be a way, either by way of an amendment to the constitution to effectively penalize electoral offenders in the country. You cannot have a flourishing democracy in which laws are violated with impunity and nothing is done about that.
“That is why we must have an electoral offences tribunal. This has been recommended by several commissions and election observers. It was recommended by the Justice Uwais Commission.”
According to him, INEC will always exercise its power to fix a timetable for election, reminiscent of how it unfolded the election sequence ahead of 2019 polls.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has lamented over the increasing cases of vote-buying in recent off-cycle elections.
At a presentation of its final observation report on the election on Monday, October 12 in Abuja, CDD listed vote-buying as one of the factors undermining the sanctity of elections.
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