NCC Lied, Nigeria Is Ripe For Electronic Transmission Of Results, INEC Insist
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said contrary to claims by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), there is enough network coverage across the country to guarantee electronic transmission of election results in 2023.
Besides, INEC revealed that NCC was aware since 2018 that the Commission has the capacity and capability to transmit results electronically.
INEC’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Nick Dazang, gave this disclaimer, yesterday, during an interview on African Independent Television (AIT) breakfast programme Kakaaki.
Recall that following a stalemated consideration of the report on the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill over clause 52(2), Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila summoned the NCC to appear and guide the lawmakers.
In response, officials of the NCC led by the Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Adeleke Adewolu; Executive Commissioner (Technical Services), Ubale Maska and two others appeared before the lawmakers.
Adewolu had told the lawmakers that only 50 per cent of the country has 3G coverage required for transmission.
He also said NCC could not guarantee total safety for the electronic transmission of results, explaining that no system was completely free from hackers
Dazang, however, described the claims as false.
“MTN and Airtel have assisted JAMB to conduct examinations across Nigeria. So INEC is still wondering why NCC has suddenly made a u-turn that there is not enough network coverage in every part of Nigeria”.
Dazang noted that INEC had introduced innovations, which worked well during the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states as well as National Assembly bye-elections across Nigeria.
According to him, the constitution has given INEC powers that cannot be shared with any agency of government, pointing out that the directive of the Senate on e-transmission was akin to striping INEC of its powers.
Meanwhile, following the controversy surrounding the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election for the upcoming Anambra State governorship election, a group, the Anambra State Indigenous Lawyers Forum (ASILF), has blamed INEC for the resulting crisis.
President of the group, Joe Nwokedi, who spoke yesterday during a TV programme, described the situation as very pathetic, saying there was a conflict of laws, orders, rulings and interest over the conduct of the primary election in the state.
According to him, the constitution mandates INEC to monitor and be involved in any election for it to be valid.
“INEC is supposed to ask questions as well as exercise due diligence about the group inviting them for the congress, and inquire if they are the authentic leaders of the political party. If they happen to engage in that diligent action, this issue of factional and non-factional leadership in political parties would have been resolved even before the congress. And it is worthy to note that INEC attends the congress by sending representatives. This is to prevent a re-occurrence of court cases emanating from primary elections, ” he stated.
Nwokedi explained that INEC was still finding it difficult to recognise the valid faction, “whereas the law states they must be involved even before the election of these executive officers.”
He insisted that INEC should be held culpable in the crisis because the law was very clear on the roles it ought to play even before the conduct of the primary elections.
Speaking on the way forward, he said: “What might happen is the same scenario that played out in Rivers State, because the law is very clear that it is political parties that sponsor candidates.
“None of the candidates contested the election as an independent candidate; they were all sponsored by political parties. The worst case scenario might be that the name of the political parties will be by the ballot boxes, while courts are left to determine the authentic candidates of the political parties.”