INEC

*We’ve done it successfully in the past, says INEC

By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor & Juliet Umeh

Telecommunications service providers in the country have pledged support to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in transmitting the 2023 election results without hitches, calling on those questioning their capability to succeed, to come off the bet. Seventy nine days before the general elections, many Nigerians, mostly politicians have queried how the INEC plans to transmit results electronically particularly in rural communities and areas with poor signals.

But the operators through their umbrella body, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria, ALTON has doused the tension, claiming it was nothing to worry about.

Chairman of the association, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, in an exclusive chat with Hi-Tech disclosed that his members were working closely with INEC to ensure the transmission of election results from critical areas are successfully done.

He said: ‘Yes, we have an understanding with INEC on transmission of results. However, that is as far as carrying the signals. The content and its fidelity are for the INEC to determine. We know we have enough resources to transmit signals from every part of the country irrespective of how remote. So, there is no reason to doubt the success of the exercise based on that. We have even done that with INEC in the past and achieved perfect results.

Recall that INEC has before assured Nigerians that its innovative solutions including the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, and INEC Results Viewing, iRev will be game changers during the 2023 general elections.

BVAS is an electronic device designed to read Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs and authenticate voters, using the voters’ fingerprints while

However, some Information Technology conscious Nigerians are contending that although Nigeria is gradually coming up in the area of broadband penetration, some interior communities are still grappling with poor connections and questions how there could be successful transmission in such areas.

For instance, the data from the Nigerian Communications Commission says that broadband subscriptions stand at over 86 million and this represents a 45.09 percent penetration as of July 2022.

But, INEC in an interactive meeting with the media in Lagos, recently, said it was already in talks with four major telecommunications networks in the country.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said: “Well, we appreciate the concerns about how transmission will be done in blind spot areas, but we are proactive

“So, we are in touch with NCC, the regulator of the telecoms industry in Nigeria, and we have already identified the blind spots.

“We are going to meet with the NCC and the Chief Executives of the four major telecommunications companies to further discuss this issue of access to connectivity and find a way of dealing with the situation. We are working with the mobile network operators, MTN, GLO, Airtel and 9mobile. We have identified the blind spots, and we have also found a solution so that we can transmit from whichever part of the country.

“This is not the first time we are transmitting results from the polling units. We started this in 2020 and since then, we have conducted elections for 105 constituents and have transmitted from all parts of the country.

We have transmitted from rural Bornu, Ondo, Ilaje and even in Ijaw areas; the middle of the Atlantic ocean and we have had no issues in the transmission of these results” he added.

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