20 Reasons Why INEC Might Conduct Successful Elections In Nigeria
By Psalmuel Adekunle
Reaction has trailed the postponement of the 2015 general elections. Some electorates felt it was a way to manipulate their votes. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) however claimed that the election was postponed in order to put better plans in place to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
According to Mrs. Ijeoma Igbokwe, Lagos State Head of Voters Education, “The new development in election process is to eliminate fraud and malpractice to the barest minimum.”
INEC has embarked on sensitization process and answering of FAQs about the election.
These are 20 reasons gathered on why the election might be a success in Nigeria:
- The new configured smart card readers [SMR]: SMR are effective in verifying voters. According to INEC, the cord will first scan your card to confirm it is INEC’s and will later confirm your thumb, after it has confirmed you, the smart card will show your picture and data’s and the reader will say “verification successful” then you can go ahead to vote.
- Backups for SMR: One of INEC’s top ten FAQ’s is “How long can the batteries of your card reader last?” INEC confirmed that the SMR can last up to 12hours before needing to be recharged and there are always backup power available for the readers.
- The smart card reader can’t Jam or get hacked: According to Mrs. Ijeoma Igbokwe head of INEC’s voter’s education, “The smart card reader can’t jam.” Her reasons are clear. The electronic jamming occurs when electronics transmit messages and the communication is cramped. The SMR doesn’t transmit any data instead it stirs data in an offline mode (so it can’t be hacked). Though data’s in the SMRs are later transferred and processed into a computer but not wirelessly. This process eliminates fear of electronic jamming or hacking.
- IRF adoption: Incident reporting Form [IRF] is a second option for voters whose card is confirmed but result in fingerprints misreading after several attempts or there is verification failure. The electorate will fill the IRF with the aid of a presiding officer and will be allowed to vote. This is put in placed to have limited disenfranchised voters.
- Lecturers will be the collating officer: In search of credibility INEC has decided to use tertiary institutions lecturers as their collating officer in the 2015 general elections so as to receive an iota of credibility as to before where youth Copas/NYSC volunteers were used as collating officers. Lecturer will be responsible for collating, sorting and counting the votes, and getting data from the IRF and the SMR.
- Copas/NYSC volunteers will be used as presiding officer: According to INEC, they have extended their mock (memorandum of understanding) with NYSC hereby giving them the chance to train and use them for the forth-coming elections.
- Colored ballot papers: This year’s election ballot papers will have different colors to reflect the different local governments in a state. This is to ensure proper collating whereby ballot papers from one local government will not be mixed with others.
- Priority Voting: Senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant women and albinos in the past were discouraged from voting because the struggle involved with the process. This year, INEC is adopting priority voting system to ensure equal opportunities are given to all.
- Electoral Commission Support Committee: One of the major challenges of INEC is logistic says, Mrs. Igbokwe at the international Press Centre (IPC) Ogba, while addressing journalists. She also revealed the process INEC is putting in place to curb it. INEC has gone around creating electoral commission support committee in every local government. These people will prepare and monitor polling units and ensure equipment arrive safely and leave the unit on time.
- Recent signing of MOU with NURTW: INEC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Union of Road Transport Workers so to ensure safe mobilisation of logistics and safe transportation of electorates.
- People With Disabilities-friendly: INEC has succeeded in producing brail fliers for blind people. According to the 1999 electoral Act, a person with disability who doesn’t have the ability to vote can be aided by the person he/she trusts and the priority voting will allow PWD’s participate and leave immediately after voting.
- Staffs will sleep overnight in racks: In earlier elections, INEC are known for electoral delay, they’re delayed mainly because of logistics. It’s believed INEC is always late to polling unit but it will be a shocker this year to many late comers as INEC’S plan in delivering a timely election will cure the problem of electoral delay. According to INEC staffs will sleep state commissioner compound and in racks before getting up at 4:00am to get materials ready for polling units, this will go a long way curbing lateness and delay in elections.
- Pick up of electioneering materials at CBN on Wednesday: According to an top official from INEC who wishes to be undisclosed; INEC will be collecting some electioneering materials like ballot paper and other branded printed electioneering materials from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday. After collection from CBN, materials will then be distributed from Abuja to all state electoral commission centers across Nigeria. This is to ensure that electoral materials will be ready in all the states before Friday, of the presidential election.
- Ad-hoc staffs retraining : INEC has officially announced the retraining of all staffs throughout the last week to the general elections and even through the following week of the gubernatorial elections. Retraining of ad-hoc staffs will be focused on electronic method of electioneering. The new innovations of INEC has been a bit challenging to the INEC’S ad-hoc staff but the retraining will go a long way to give staffs mastery on the device.
- Successful mock election: INEC was highly successful in her recent mock election, which was done in a few states. Though the mock election had low turnout in Lagos, the exercise reassured Nigerians that INEC was competent and ready to launch the 2015 exercise.
- Marking out Risk Area: According Mrs. Igbokwe, INEC has marked out strategic places for security reasons. The strategic strata of the country will consists of the High risk areas- mostly the north eastern states and other hostile communities, medium risk areas – recovering centers, camps and other hostile communities across the six – geo political zones in Nigeria, Low risk areas- This are places that will be needing lesser security presence.
- MOU with Security Agencies: INEC has signed memorandum of understanding with the Joint Task Force, i.e Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, Civil defense and the Nigerian Police Force so as to stand as security agents against all political thuggery or electioneering intimidation. The JTF will concentrate mostly on the high and medium risk areas hereby giving the liberty and security for electorate to practice their franchise.
- IDP’S are voting in their camps: According to INEC, internally displaced people [IDP] will be voting in their camps.
- Last minute Rush: INEC adopted a last minute rush to ensure Nigerians get the opportunity to collect their PVCs before the elections.
20. INEC DEMANDS PATIENCE FROM EVERYONE .
HAPPY VOTING NIGERIANS!