The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the 2019 elections will be announced electronically after party agents have been given physical copies at polling units.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the same mechanism will be used in the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections in July and September 2018, respectively.
Yakubu disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, when he visited the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta.
Yakubu said, “We are planning for full deployment (of electronic and manual transmission) this year in governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun. Thereafter we intend to deploy the system in the 2019 general elections.
“INEC has developed the hardware and software. However, we rely on the operators for the transmission of both the figures and scanned images of result sheets. We wish to assure Nigerians that while we transmit the raw figures from polling units, scanned images of the result sheets will also be transmitted electronically in addition to physical copies given to party agents at polling units.“
The INEC boss urged telecoms service providers to assist the Commission in ensuring the process is as smooth as possible.
Yakubu also appealed to the NCC, as the regulator, to facilitate a meeting between INEC and the telecommunications operators to discuss modalities ahead of the elections.
The INEC boss added, “Similarly, we would like the NCC to facilitate discussions with operators on ways of enhancing their corporate social responsibility to Nigeria’s electoral process. An immediate area of interest to INEC is how the operators can help in voter education and publicity.
“Towards the 2019 general elections, we would like the operators in collaboration with INEC, to send bulk SMS and possibly voice messages as well on the imperative of peaceful elections, the collection of Permanent Voter Cards by registered voters and directional information on the location of polling units for easy access to voters.”
Responding to the appeal, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the NCC said the agency would try to improve the security of the communications system before the 2019 election so that it would be effective for the dissemination of election results.