An indication that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might deploy electronic collation and transmission of results in the 2019 General Elections emerged on 30 January, when the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu formally asked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for assistance to attain the goal.
In an unprecedented move, Prof. Yakubu led some Commission members and Directors to the NCC headquarters in Abuja where he declared: “The time has come to electronically collate and transmit election results.”
After a warm welcome by the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and his team of top management staff, Prof. Yakubu reiterated INEC’s commitment to deepening the introduction and deployment of technology in elections.
He said: “the Commission introduced and deployed the biometric voter register in the 2011 General Elections and the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in the 2015 General Elections. The time has come to electronically collate and transmit election results. We are convinced that by doing so, results will be transmitted faster and more accurately from the Polling Units to the various collation and declaration centres.
“In several re-run and bye-elections conducted since the 2015 General Elections, the Commission has deployed the electronic collation and transmission platforms on a pilot basis. More recently, we conducted simultaneous electronic and manual transmission of results in some major elections. We are planning for full deployment this year in the Governorship elections in Ekiti State in July and Osun State in September. Thereafter, we intend to deploy the system in the 2019 General Elections.”
But to achieve this objective, Prof. Yakubu averred that it was imperative for the Commission to discuss with the telecommunications operators in Nigeria. While INEC possesses the hardware and had already developed the software, he affirmed, the Commission would have to rely on the operators for the transmission of both the figures and the scanned images of result sheets.