The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that there is no going back in the deployment of new technology for transmission of results from the polling units to its central result viewing portal during the November 6, Anambra State governorship election.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made the declaration at a one-day seminar, organized by the INEC Press Corp in Abuja on Wednesday.
Okoye further revealed that the commission has implemented eight out of the 14 items listed in the timetable and schedule of activities, adding that it will publish the Official Register of Voters and the Final List of nominated candidates to bring the total activities already implemented to 10.
He further announced the readiness of the Commission to conduct the poll, stressing that Anambra State has a total of 21 Local Governments, 326 Registration Areas (Wards), 5,720 Polling Units and 2,447,996 registered voters.
The Commission also pointed out that the number of registered voters will certainly increase with the end of the first phase of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise and the display of the said Register for Claims and Objections.
The election umpire also made passionate appeal to stakeholders to protect corps members deployed for the conduct of the elections.
“The Commission will also deploy relevant and appropriate technology for the conduct of the Anambra State Governorship election. To this end, the Commission will deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the accreditation of voters. The bimodal accreditation system will use fingerprints or facials for efficient voter accreditation. Therefore, those engaged in identity theft must steer clear of the polling units in Anambra State as only voters that are properly authenticated using their fingerprints or facials will be allowed to vote.
“The Commission will also use its new technological device to upload polling unit level results to its central result viewing portal. Nigerians that have access to internet facilities can log in and view the results as they are being uploaded.
“For this, we have commenced elaborate voter education and publicity activities in the State. He emphasized the Commission’s determination to conduct a good election in Anambra State adding that all its processes and procedures are geared and targeted at achieving the objective.
“We assure the people of Anambra State and indeed all Nigerians that the votes of the people will be the only determinant of leadership succession in the state.
Speaking further on the November Anambra poll, he said: “We therefore appeal to all the critical stakeholders to rally round the Commission and give their maximum cooperation towards this goal. The Commission needs a safe and secure environment for efficient and professional deployment of staff and materials. We must realize that young men and women doing their National Youth Service form the bulk of our Presiding Officers. Some of them are the only sons and daughters of their parents.
“Some of them graduated from school through determined perseverance in the face of hardship. Some of them are the products of community effort while some of them did menial jobs to graduate. We therefore have a responsibility to protect them in the performance of this national assignment.
“No form of insurance can cover for the loss of one life and the Commission will on no account compromise on the safety and welfare of these individuals and all other staff that will be deployed for the election,” he said.
Giving more update on the poll, he said: “As you are aware, on May 23, 2021 the Commissions facilities in its Anambra State office were attacked and destroyed. The Collation Centre was burnt, stores housing over 326 generating sets and the generating sets were burnt. Six utility vehicles were set ablaze and the main building substantially damaged and burnt and over 50 per cent of non sensitive materials meant for the election were also set ablaze.
“The Commission has made substantial progress in restoring these facilities and other burnt national electoral assets. The stores have been reconstructed and ready to receive materials. The Collation Center will be ready in a few days time and the restoration of the main building will also be completed in a few days time.
“The implication is that in the next few days, the Commission will begin the movement of non sensitive materials from its zonal stores in different parts of the federation to Anambra State office, preparatory to batching and delivery to our LG offices.
“The tenure of the incumbent governor of Anambra State will expire on March 17, 2022. Pursuant to section 178(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and section 25(7) and (8) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the earliest date for the election into the office of the Governor, Anambra State shall be October 18, 2021 and the latest date for the election shall be February 15, 2022.
“By virtue of the provisions of section 1978(2) of the Constitution and section 25(8) of the Electoral Act, election into the office of a State Governor shall hold not earlier than 150 and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office. Out of the fourteen items listed in the said timetable and schedule of activities, the Commission has implemented eight.”
He further disclosed that; “the Commission has made substantial progress in restoring these facilities and other burnt national electoral assets. The stores have been reconstructed and ready to receive materials. The Collation Center will be ready in a few days time and the restoration of the main building will also be completed in a few days time.
“The implication is that in the next few days, the Commission will begin the movement of non sensitive materials from its zonal stores in different parts of the federation to Anambra State office, preparatory to batching and delivery to our LG offices,” he said.