INEC Going Digital, Procures Electronic Voting Machines

Moses Ofodeme

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has initiated the processes that may eventually lead to replacing manual voting with automated voting or electronics voting system.

The INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Mahmood, said this on Monday in Abuja at the demonstration of Electronics Voting Machine (EVMs).

According to him, INEC has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to practically demonstrate how the machines work, preparatory to full migration.

He said that the event was another giant step in the commission’s continuous effort to deepen electoral integrity in Nigeria through the deployment of technology.

“Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest data base of citizens in Nigeria.

“In addition, the combination of biometric voters’ cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and the Smart Card Reader (SCR) have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.

“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media. Most significantly, the Commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view.

“These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria,” Yakubu said.

The INEC boss said that the commission has been working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the current manual system which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver huge quantities of printed materials and a large number of ad hoc staff to administer the process.

He said, “To this end, the commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”

Yakubu said that over 40 companies that indicated interest will demonstrate to the commission how their IT solutions meet its specifications.

He said that this is only a demonstration that will enable the commission to evaluate the available technology and where necessary finetune specifications before proceeding to the next stage which will involve the participation of stakeholders.

“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of EVMs in elections in earnest,” Yakubu said.

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