INEC clarified that there can’t be any electronic voting in Nigeria until the 1999 Constitution authorise it.
The commission stated it was unlucky that some newspapers gave a distinct interpretation.
Pandemic has increased the cost of conducting elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday clarified that there can’t be any electronic voting in Nigeria until the 1999 Constitution as amended is further amended to authorise it.
“What the policy says under “ICT and Voter Registration” (Roman figure v – page 12) is that INEC will pilot the use of electronic voting at the earliest possible time (not Edo and Ondo), but work towards the full introduction of electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.
“The key words here are pilot, work and towards,” he acknowledged.
He stated these connoted a different meaning from the headlines in some media stories yesterday.
A section of the media while reporting the release of guidelines for the Edo and Ondo States’ governorship elections later this year, stated INEC would test run electronic voting for election in 2021.
“As we all know, INEC cannot unilaterally introduce electronic voting because our constitution does not allow/recognise it. That’s why we said we will work towards the full introduction of e-voting,” he added.
The commission stated it was unlucky that some newspapers gave a distinct interpretation to the actual aspect of the guidelines.
Additionally, INEC National Commissioner in control of Voter Education and Public Information, Mr. Festus Okoye, told THISDAY that the COVID-19 pandemic had elevated the cost of elections and reduced government revenues.
He stated: “No doubt, this pandemic has increased the cost of conducting elections. There are additional costs in terms of responsibilities. During elections, a coaster bus carries up to 40 electoral personnel, but now it has to reduce to seven and this is an additional financial burden. We now have to supply protective equipment to election staff and hand sanitisers in addition to facial masks. All these imply further funding.
“But much as we recognise that there is extra funding, we’re going to use electronics services; this will reduce some costs. National commissioners go for electoral duties by air; this time around, they could use electronic devices to do some of the works.
“Doing the works electronically could reduce the high cost of the elections. Like in the proposed meetings with stakeholders, the commission could conduct some of the scheduled activities electronically and this would reduce the anticipated price of the election.