On Friday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that it transmitted results of this year’s presidential election electronically, but that it was a pilot scheme which was not yet supported by law.
DAILY TRUST reports that Malam Mohammed Haruna, the INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa states, representing Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday. He made the revelation at the public presentation of the YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) General Elections Observation Report of the 2019 elections.
Malam Mohammed Haruna said: “The keyword is pilot. We were piloting, and you have to take that into consideration. In fact, it is not a done deal. We were testing to see whether eventually, we would use electronic transmission. The clarification from YIAGA about the law that if the president had signed it, it would give us the legal backing to transmit electronically.
“The fact is that the bill that eventually went to Mr. President never even contained that, this is the fact. So, as I said, the important thing is that it was not a law and we are piloting it at state level, for even this presidential, it was just a pilot.
“Let us be very cautious about this electronic silver bullet, each package comes with its own problem. Adopt it today, it is going to have its own problems, hacking and so forth.
“We have to be very careful that once we adopt IT, all our problems would be solved,” Haruna, who said he also represented the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, added.
Ms. Cynthia Mbamalu, the YIAGA Africa Programs Manager and WTV Project Director, speaking earlier, said that the organisation designed its checklist with the use of INEC’s guidelines.
“And one of the things we observed was that in Osun and Ekiti states INEC piloted the e-collation (electronics collation) and transmission of results using the smart card reader (SMC). And we have seen it recorded huge success in Ekiti and Osun. And informed by that knowledge, we had introduced a question on that to also track if that will be implemented in the elections,” she said.
Dr. Hussaini Abdu, the chairman, Watching The Vote (WTV) Working Group of YIAGA AFRICA, who presented the result, said that INEC introduced reforms to deepen citizens participation and electoral integrity, the elections were still marred by many of the shortcomings which marred national elections previously held in the country.