Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decided to drop manual conduct of voting in 2019 general elections, it was learnt yesterday.
Its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this during a meeting with executives of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECs), who visited him at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Prof. Yakubu noted that the commission was working to replacing the manual process with modern technology in the conduct of local elections.
He said: “We can no longer continue to conduct elections manually in Nigeria. We must introduce modern technology as being done in other countries. Very soon, the use of technology for the conduct of local elections in the country will be mandatory
“It will make the process transparent and very open as it should be. The use of smart card, otherwise known as Card Reader machine, has come to stay, though it requires a lot of resources. We see we can do it because it adds value and more credibility to the electoral process in the country. Some states have been using it in the conduct of their elections. We are seeing how we can make it to go round,” he added.
He assured the SIECs of the commission’s collaboration during his tenure as part of efforts to deepen democracy.
“We will continue to collaborate and cooperate with SEICs and other organisations in improving election management in the country,” he added.
The forum’s chairperson, Mrs. Gloria Ukpong, who is also the chairperson of the Akwa Ibom State SIEC, said the forum could learn from INEC chairman.
“We had great and beautiful memory under the former commission and we want the relationship to continue. We can learn many things from the commission under you and take them to our states.
“The introduction of Card Readers at the national level is a welcome development. Only Sokoto State had implemented it. It allows for more transparency.
“If we use the same voters’ register to conduct elections at the state levels, why can’t we come together for discussion on how we can also be using the Card Readers. It requires a lot of resources, which the states may not be able to bear the cost,” she said.