The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has reiterated its readiness to embark on electronic transmission of election results whenever it gets legal backing, saying Nigeria is ripe for the deployment of the technology.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this in a 25-page “Position Paper No. 1 of 2021” released, yesterday, in Abuja, said Nigeria has adequate Information Communication Technology, ICT, infrastructure for e-transmission.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC believes that it has developed adequate structures and processes to successfully transmit election results electronically. Electronic transmission of results will improve the quality of election result management and that our engagement with stakeholders shows that the Nigerian public supports it. The technology and national infrastructure to support this are adequate. Consequently, if the choice was up to INEC, the Commission prefers to transmit election results electronically once the necessary legal framework is provided. This Position Paper will, among other things, try to elaborate on the reasons the transmission of election results electronically is both desirable and doable”, the commission declared.
INEC added that to require it to obtain attestation from the Nigerian Communication Commission NCC and approval of the National Assembly to implement electronic transmission of election results will be in breach of the Constitution.
According to Yakubu, recent debates regarding e-transmission have not bothered to look at the desirability or otherwise of using the innovation for elections in Nigeria.
He said: “Two guiding principles underlying the Commission’s application of technology are timeliness and relevance. These principles underscore the Commission’s belief that the time has come for Nigerian elections to transcend the cumbersome, tardy and vulnerable manual transmission and collation of election results to electronic transmission”.
INEC said it will not abdicate its constitutional duty of superintending the electoral and political process, explaining that it has always created partnerships with diverse agencies of government, private sector and civic groups in its determination to establish a virile and world-class electoral process for Nigeria.
Recall that the National Assembly had, in July, voted against electronic transmission of results in the amended Electoral Act.
The partisan action had generated criticisms across the country, with many saying the move could question the credibility of 2023 general elections.