By Lydia Ngwakwe
Some politicians on Thursday hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for introducing an electronic collation and results transmission system ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The politicians, who made the commendation in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said that they would support innovations aimed at making the electoral system more credible and transparent.
INEC’s Director of Information and Communications Technology, Mr Chidi Nwafor, had last week, during a media parley, announced the introduction.
According to him, the e-collation system has four procedures.
The first is that results from polling units will be entered into an e-collation application on a smart card reader while the second procedure is that results are transmitted to a central server.
The third procedure is that results are auto-collated and can be viewed at registration areas, while the last is results audit and confirmation, which will take place at collation centres.
The National Chairman of Progressive Action Council (PAC), Chief Charles Nwodo, told NAN: “Every effort to make the electoral system credible and transparent should be encouraged.
“Many Nigerians have condemned the use of card readers, especially during the last election.’’
Nwodo said that was the need to amend the Electoral Act to be able to stand the test of time.
He advised INEC to embark on demonstration of the use of the e-collation and result transmission system by conducting mock elections.
Alhaji Musa Umar, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Kano State Chapter, told NAN that the new system would promote transparency in elections.
“INEC e-collation system will surely elevate the process of election conduct to the next level; it will fast-track the process and enhance election fraud detection.
“However, curbing election excesses may not be achieved by this singular innovation, stakeholders must all agree to have free and fair elections, “Umar said.
Mr Shola Omolola, Secretary, Lagos State Chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), said: “We give INEC the credit for the innovation, and we hope it will give election process the desired credibility.
We equally hope that the process is not skewed to favour a particular candidate or party,’’Omolola said.
The National Chairman of African Liberation Party (ALP), Chief Emmanuel Okereke, however, said that the innovation would not curb electoral malpractice.
“How will INEC collate results in rural areas and still transmit same?
“What INEC should be doing now is voter education and registration. Some Nigerians do not have permanent voter cards.
“Some people who became 18 years last two years are now 20, while more people are turning 18,’’ Okereke said.