The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it has the capacity for the electronic transmission of election results nationwide despite its rejection by the National Assembly in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
According to the commission, the use of the technology will be feasible in the deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education Committee), Festus Okoye, who stated this in an interview with Sunday Punch ,said the electoral body had many times demonstrated its commitment to the use of technology in electoral process.
He said INEC demonstrated this through the creative, innovative and strategic deployment and application of technology in various aspects of the electoral process with the goal of limiting human interference in the electoral process as much as possible.
“INEC has the capacity to transmit election results from the polling units to the Registration Area Collation Centres to the Local Government Collation Centres, the various state, federal and senatorial district collation centres, and the state and national collation centres.
“The Joint Technical Committee constituted by the commission and the Nigerian Communications Commission and made of telecommunication operators met on March 9, 2018, and the consensus was that the requirements for the electronic transfer of results proposed by INEC is practicable. The meeting, therefore, agreed that the solution that INEC wants to deploy is possible.
“We have the assurance of the service providers that they have provided similar technological solutions to other agencies and have the capacity to deploy technology to cover a few blind spots.
“The commission will continue to pilot different solutions bearing in mind that technology is dynamic and can limit human interference in the electoral process. The commission wants broad powers to deploy technology and is not in favour of a particular solution being written into the law,” Okoye was quoted as saying.
He added; ”The commission has used and will continue to use the existing technology to upload the results from polling units. The commission has uploaded results from polling units in Southern Ijaw with its difficult riverine and difficult terrain. The commission uploaded results from areas that are only accessible through human carriers.
“The commission uploaded results from conflict areas. The commission uploaded results from all geopolitical zones. Presently, the commission has obtained the GPS coordinates of all the 176,846 polling units in the country and expanded voter access to the polling units.”
There was controversy in the House of Representatives over Clause 52(2) of the Bill which gives the Independent National Electoral Commission the discretion to determine when, where and how voting and and transmission of results will be done.
The Senate also ruled out the possibility of having results transmitted electronically when it voted that the National Communication Commissio, with the National Assembly’s approval, would determine whether INEC could transmit results electronically or not.
The controversial clause divided the two chambers along party and regional lines as the lawmakers voted against electronic transmission of results.