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2023 Elections: INEC To Adopt Manual, Electronic Transmission Of Results

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THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has hinted that it will employ both the manual and electronic methods in the transmission of the 2023 elections results in line with the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.

This is just as the electoral umpire allayed the fears over the political ambition of the Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Mr Godwin Amefiele, saying that would not jeopardise the conduct of the 2023 general elections, as there is the possibility of moving sensitive materials from CBN to another location if there was a need for such move.

Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, spoke on Thursday in Abuja during the 2nd quarterly consultative meeting with the media executives.

He clarified that the provision of the Electoral Act 2022 in the management of results is still basically manual involving the recording of results on forms and their delivery to various levels of collation until declaration and returns are made.

He further explained that the law still provides for e-transmission of results, Yakubu quoting section 64 of the electoral act said electronic transmission of results would only be done in the event of dispute during the course of collation.

Yakubu said there was the need to clear the misconception around e-transmission of results, stressing that many Nigerians equate it with electronic voting where voting can take place from any location.

A document containing the implementation procedure for electronic transmission of results which as made available to newsmen at the meeting indicated that the presiding officer is expected to transmit a clear image of form EC8A (result sheets) for purpose of collation which goes to the INEC Results Viewing Portal.

According to the document, the Polling Officer is also expected to deliver the hard copy of EC8A and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to the Registration Collation Officer.

• Allays fears over political ambition of CBN Gov

But while responding to a question on the political ambition and partisanship of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Yakubu said the commission might be forced to find another arrangement for the handling of sensitive materials.

He said the apex bank is responsible for the storage and movement of sensitive materials, adding that the commission has never doubted the capacity of the CBN to discharge that responsibility.

“But I understand the context in which the question is asked. But you should also understand the context in which events are unfolding. As we speak our director, litigation and prosecution are in court. There is a case in court. We have been invited to state our own side of the story. We usually refrain from talking about such issues because there is essentially subjudice.

“But we have already started talking about what alternatives are available to us in case we need to change the arrangement for the handling of sensitive materials.

“We have started thinking about it. We are aware of the situation. We will watch the situation. We still have nine months before the next general elections. Things may be addressed before then. I want to assure you that we will not jeopardise the conduct of the election by creating a misconception around the situation in the process,” he said.

• Says commission can’t regulate cost of nomination forms

On the high cost of party nomination forms, the INEC chairman maintained that the commission has no power to regulate the price of the nomination forms.

He, however, said the umpire would partner with the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to checkmate the spending of political parties during the poll.

He said: “INEC cannot just arbitrarily apply curbs on expenditure. Some are covered by the provisions in the Electoral Act. For instance, the cost of nomination forms is not provided by law. But in some cases, like contributions by any major politician to their parties, these are provided by the Electoral Act. Sometimes, it is very difficult to know how much they spend. It is true that we are working with the EFCC to see what we can do in the area of campaign finance.

He disclosed the 18 registered political parties have submitted their membership register their membership to the commission.

Yakubu added that the commission would soon finalise the document guiding the conduct of future elections, including the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun governorship elections as well as the 2023 General Election next week

According to him, beyond the conduct of primaries by political parties, the commission is required to make regulations and guidelines for the implementation of the provisions of the Electoral Act.

“With regard to the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections, the commission is processing applications by media organisations for accreditation. I wish to reassure you that all applications will be carefully considered and expeditiously treated,” he said.

Yakubu assured that the commission would also work with the security agencies to ensure the safety and security of journalists and their unimpeded access to all voting and collation locations during elections.

On election technology, he said the commission has reviewed the functionality of BVAS following the complaints received after the recent Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) held on 12th February 2022.

He added that two weeks later, the commission conducted six bye-elections in four States across four geo-political zones of the country covering rural, sub-urban and urban areas, adding that in these bye-elections, the BVAS functioned optimally as attested to by the reports of field observers accredited by the Commission.

“The Commission has finished the configuration of the BVAS for the Ekiti State Governorship election. To further ensure optimal performance of the BVAS on Election Day, the Commission will undertake a mock voter accreditation exercise in Ekiti State ahead of the main election on 18th June 2022, the details of which will be announced shortly,” he said.

Speaking at the event, the President Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo, commended the courage of the National Assembly for the successful amendment of the Electoral Act and the final assent by the President.

He called on INEC to remain resolute and not to succumb to political actors on the issue of timetable and schedule of activities for the poll.

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