Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged the National Assembly to add more powers on its role of deploying technology in the nation’s electoral process by approving its recommendations on electoral process.
Mr Festus Okoye , INEC’s National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, made the call in Abuja, on Thursday.
Okoye said: “we need the National Assembly to give us added muscle, added power to deploy technology in the electoral process. Because as at today, the laws as they are programmed are manual and that is why we must collate results manually at a polling unit, collect manually at a collation centre and also collate manually at the local governments and so on. So, we need the law to be changed to enable us to deploy technology, very relevant technology and decide when to deploy a particular type of technology solution to the electoral process. So, that’s one of the key things we want. Secondly, we are also looking at the constitutional framework. As of today, the pre-election matters dovetail into the election period, creating a huge challenge. So, we are looking at a situation where all pre-election matters will be concluded before we even go into the election. So that after elections, what we’ll be dealing with will not be pre-election challenges. Then, third issue which is also very germane relates to the nomination processes of political parties and internal democracy in political parties. One of the challenges we have is that political parties will give you notice of the party nomination processes. Then, when you arrive there, you hear that they have changed the venue, they have changed the list of the delegates, and they have changed the procedure for the elections. So, we have a recommendation that will make it impossible for there to be manipulation. Before you conduct your party primaries, you must publish the venue, the delegates’ list and the time, in at least two national newspapers. So that every individual going into that particular election will know the venue, time, and those who are qualified to vote at the election“.
He said if the National Assembly adopts the recommendations and President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the bill, more powers would be added to the commission.
This, Okoye noted, would ultimately improve further transparency on the nation’s elections.