The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that apart from giving physical copies of results of elections to party agents, it will henceforth, electronically collate and transmit results during the 2019 general election.
Therefore, the election body solicited the collaboration of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecommunications operators for deployment of electronic devices during the exercise.
The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a visit today to Umar Dambatta, NCC executive vice-chairman, in Abuja.
According to Yakubu, the electoral body will adopt the system during the Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections later in the year.
He said the system had been tested in some bye-elections and will be fully implemented in 2019.
His words: “Today, millions of Nigerians communicate by means of mobile phones and equally receive news and information using the same device.”
“For us in INEC, it is one of the most effective means of communicating with citizens in the area of voter education and sensitization.
“INEC is committed to deepening the deployment of technology in elections. To this end, the commission introduced and deployed the biometric voter registration in 2011 general elections and Smat Card Reader, SCR, in 2015 general elections.
“The time has come to electronically collate and transmit election results. We are convinced that by doing so, results will be transmitted caste and more accurately from polling units to the various collation and declaration centres.
“In several re-run and bye elections conducted since the 2015 general elections, the commission has deployed the electronic collation and transmission platforms on a pilot basis. More recently, we conducted simultaneously electronic and manual transmission of results in some majors elections.
“We are planning for full deployment this year in the governorship elections in Ekiti state in July and Osun state in September. Thereafter, we intend to deploy the system in the 2019 general elections.
“In order to achieve this objective, it is imperative to discuss with the telecommunications operators in Nigeria. INEC has the hardware and have developed the software as well. However, we have to rely on the operators for the transmission of both the figures and the scanned images of result sheet.
“Towards the 2019 general elections, we would like the operators, in collaboration with INEC, to send bulk SMS on imperative of peaceful elections, the collection of Permanent Voter Cards by registered voters.”