By Sherifat Lawal
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has highlighted the positive role of technology in electoral processes.
This is contained in the reports of the 2019 general election released by INEC on Friday, November 6, in Abuja.
The committee set up by INEC while giving reports on the review of the 2015 general elections stated that the deployment of technology improved the conduct of the election.
According to the report, “The review and retreat highlighted the general acknowledgment about the positive role that the deployment of technology played in improving the electoral process and the conduct of elections.”
Notable among such technology was the electronic register of voters, the issuance of a chip-based Permanent Voter’ Card (PVC) to registered voters, and the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) for the verification and authentication of voters.
“The elections were particularly unique because of the introduction of various innovations, such as the use of an electronic register of voters, the issuance of a chip-based Permanent Voter’ Card (PVC) to registered voters, and the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) for the verification and authentication of voters,” the report added.
The review made by the committee identified the challenges encountered in the conduct of the elections and made important recommendations against the 2019 election.
The report noted: “The review identified various issues and challenges encountered in the conduct of the elections and made important recommendations for the consolidation of the successes and for redressing the identified shortcomings.”
The committee recommended that the country should “Develop a comprehensive and in-depth Election Project Plan to facilitate early preparations for the conduct of the 2019 General Election;
“Merge the separate accreditation and voting system into a continuous accreditation and voting process;
“Revise, update, streamline and consolidate all electoral forms to improve clarity and time management on election day;
“Review the logistics processes, including the MoU with transport unions for the deployment and retrieval of election personnel and materials;
“Strengthen the system of recruiting and training election ad hoc staff and engage with the Executive and the National Assembly for the review of the electoral legal framework to improve elections, including adequate funding and quick release of appropriated funds.”
Other recommendations in the report are a review of the various election management platforms – EMS, ERM, and EOSC with a view to integrating them into a single election monitoring platform;
Improve inter-departmental cooperation, collaboration, and communication links between INEC headquarters, state and FCT offices, as well as LGA offices;
Revision of INEC’s Communication Policy to enhance transparency and build trust in the Commission’s engagement with critical stakeholders and the general public.