2022 Budget: INEC to spend N1.3bn on funerals, Xmas bonus, others; N200m to audit accounts

By Clifford Ndujihe

National Chairman of  Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has declared the readiness of the commission to monitor direct primaries of political parties once President Muhammadu Buhari signs the amended Electoral Bill into law.

Speaking at an interactive meeting with Online publishers in Lagos, yesterday, Yakubu, who advised politicians acquiring multiple voter cards with the hope of rigging polls to have a rethink because the latest technology deployed by the commission would neutralise their efforts, said the INEC is ready to implement direct primaries.

He said: “Since it emerged that the direct primary clause was included in the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, many of you have been asking the commission for its position. The issue is not about our position but the process.

In the exercise of its constitutional power, the National Assembly has passed the bill into law awaiting presidential assent. Once the process is concluded, the bill becomes law and every person and authority in Nigeria, including the commission, must obey.

The commission will give expeditious consideration to the law, including the detailed regulations and guidelines for its implementation where necessary.”

On Anambra polls

Speaking on the November 6 and 9, 2021 Anambra governorship election, Yakubu commended Anambra voters for their patience during the initial technical glitches that marred the poll.

“The commission is not unaware of the issues raised about the performance of the new technology deployed for voter accreditation. The deployment of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, in the Anambra governorship election was the second pilot test.

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“It was intended to achieve two objectives. First is voter accreditation to replace Smart Card Reader. The second is the uploading of polling unit result on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV)  portal to replace the z-pad.

“The BVAS performed optimally in uploading results on the IReV but there were usual challenges associated with the pilot of a new technology in a major election. From our assessment so far, much of the glitches encountered on Election Day in Anambra State had little to do with the machines but more with the operators of the system.

“The extraordinarily difficult circumstances under which the election was held meant that some of the better trained ad hoc staff withdrew at the 11th hour. Similarly, some critical service providers such as vehicle owners also withdrew, thereby severely affecting our plans for rapid response by our technicians- the Registration Area Technical (RATECH) staff.

On BVAS

“In spite of the glitches, BVAS has justified our determination to deepen the deployment of technology in the electoral process.’’

He said the INEC had learned from the Anambra experience assuring that future polls would be better conducted and managed.

“I want to reassure Nigerians that we have learnt vital lessons from the Anambra pilot. There will be remarkable improvement in the next major election, which is the end-of-tenure Area Council election in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, schedule to hold in three months on February 12, 2022,’’

Yakubu called for the support of the media and all stakeholders in the task of ensuring peaceful and credible because now ‘’elections are held all-year round between one general election and another with no respite. There is no election season any longer in Nigeria.’’

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