The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu has confirmed that the commission will not deploy the use of electronic gadgets to conduct voting during the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu, who is also the President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) said this while briefing reporters at the end of the three-day International Conference on “ Opportunities and Challenges in the use of technology in Elections”, which ended in Abuja on Wednesday.
The conference organized by the INEC, the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern Africa Development Countries (ECF/SADC) drew participants from over 30 countries from West and southern African sub-regions, who brainstormed on the deployment of technology for elections.
Yakubu noted that within the existing legal framework in Nigeria, the commission has enough backing for the deployment of technology saying “I want to categorically say that the commission is not deploying electronic voting in 2019 but we will deploy technology for the collation and transmission of electronic results and we believe that by doing so we will collate, transmit and declare results more speedily and more accurately.”
He added that the commission will involve the citizens through what we call “Citizens Mandate Protection” in addition to forms that will be issued to political parties and their agents at polling stations.
“With technology election is in the hands of the people. We want to assure you that technology has come to stay in the conduct of elections in the two sub region and we are not just talking about actual voting, collation and transmission of results but all other processes including the confirmation of the voters register. Technology will be deployed in all the processes including the tracking of logistics for elections,” he said.
He pointed out that despite the challenges associated with technology in this day and age the commission has strategized to transmit election results efficiently and securely.
“We will continue to do whatever that is required to ensure that we retain the confidence of our people because elections at the end of the day is not just about technology it is about the people and about the people’s confidence in the process. Technology is a facilitator it is never an end in itself,” he said.
President of ECES, Monica Frassaoni lauded the conference for being fruitful adding that the views expressed during the three-day meeting will form the basis of ECES support for Nigeria in the 2019 elections.