The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC on Tuesday announced that it is reviewing its current technologies for elections with a plan to introduce some new ones to improve the election process ahead of 2023.
Mr Nick Dazang, the INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity Department revealed this at a five-day workshop for the department. The workshop titled “Review of National Education Manual” in Keffi, Nasarawa State was organized by the INEC in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
The VEP Director, speaking with newsmen at the workshop, mentioned that INEC had set in motion, the process for electronic voting since it introduced optic map registration forms in 2004. He said that in order to introduce the new technologies, INEC would go back to the use of card readers and would likely introduce. Other technologies that will work seamlessly with electronic voting in 2023.
He said inn addition “we have started the process as far back as 2004, culminating in the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) that we also used in 2015. “But the commission is reviewing this process with a view to upgrading and improving the conduct of elections in 2023.
“The commission wants to introduce new technologies that will help deepen the conduct of the elections and also improve on them. So the commission is working assiduously on that. “Very soon, when the Commission has taken a position, it will come out and explain to Nigerians how this is going to be done,” Dazang said.
Dazang noted that the commission had no regrets on the technologies it had so far introduced for the conduct of elections in Nigeria as they had helped in deepening the process and the transparency. He added that the INEC would continue to update its technologies for the electoral system, not for the fancy of it but because these technologies work.
Dazang said that the commission was also reviewing its voter education to enable it to explain better the planned technologies to Nigerians. “In reviewing our voter education, we are looking at certain dynamics including the technologies that the commission intend to introduce.
“We have to be on top of the matters so that we can explain the application of these technologies to Nigerians as we did when we introduced SCR, direct data capturing machines and PVCs. He described voter education as a key part of the electoral process that needed concerted efforts not just from INEC, but all stakeholders.
“If you look at what is happening around the globe including Nigeria, so many changes are happening that necessitate the urgency to review voter education.” This, according to him, includes the issue of changes in technology and COVID-19, saying we need to change our communications process to respond to the changes. “We need to change our communications in response to the growing youth population. We need to use strategies that resonate with the youth and women population.”
On the Anambra governorship election, Dazang said that the commission would at the appropriate time issue the date and timetable for the conduct of the election, latest by six months to the conduct.
He then urged the staff members of the Commission to always upgrade themselves on new technologies as well as continue to obey the COVID-19 safety protocols.