The Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has discussed the elections in 2023.
On Thursday in Abuja, the INEC chairman insisted that no eligible voter in Nigeria will be permitted to vote in the upcoming general elections without a Permanent Voter Card, or PVC. However, he also assured that the Bimodal Voter Registration System, or BVAS, is extremely secure, intact, and cannot be compromised or hacked into by overzealous individuals.
Fielding questions from participants after presenting a paper on “INEC and the Challenges of ICT- The Way Forward,” Yakubu insisted that technology will be deployed to actualize a credible, fair and hitch-free general election.
“As with every aspect of our national lives, adopting technologies into the electoral process is always met with challenges.
“One major challenge was the lack of a clear-cut legal framework supporting the deployment of technology by the Commission especially in the accreditation of voters and the voting process.
“The deployment of the Smart Card Readers in 2015 and its use was faced with various challenges such as resistance to use in some isolated instances, snatching and destruction of devices, attempts to manipulate the use of the devices, and most prominently various judicial pronouncements on the legality of its use,” Yakubu said.
Represented by Dr Lawrence Bayode, Director ICT, the INEC chairman said: “Another very disturbing trend is the misinformation and disinformation on technological deployments by the Commission in the social media space and some media houses picking up news bulletins from social media platforms to discuss on their morning shows and political programmes without reaching out to the Commission for its stance on such issues.
“One of such is the recent viral assumption that PVC is not required to vote on Election day.
Let me reiterate the Commission’s stance that, Section 47(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 clearly states that, a person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter’s card to a Presiding Officer for accreditation at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered.”
He stated that INEC is constitutionally required to only accept a voter’s accreditation when they are in possession of a genuine voter’s card.
Emmanuel Owah, Assistant Research Fellow, National Judicial Institute, Abuja, presented a paper on “The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Election Management and Agenda Setting.”
Similarly, there was a paper presentation on “The Role of the Media in Election Reportage” by Adebimpe Elizabeth Olorunfemi, Assistant Research Fellow, National Judicial Institute, Abuja.