….INEC records 542,576 online registration of new voters
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recorded 542, 576 new applications through its newly-launched online pre-registration.
The online registration of voters is part of the country’s adoption of technology to have greater transparency in election activities.
Meanwhile, In line with the electronic pre-registration, Nigeria is also considering transmitting election results electronically.
Electronic transmission will curb the discrepancies that arise from declaring results different from what was collated at polling units.
Electronic Transmission of Results:
Also, taking a cue from recent email voting by Americans during the presidential election, Nigeria considers electronic result transmission.
Sadly though, Nigeria lawmakers, Thursday, upheld the Electoral Act Amendment Bill that sought to censor electronic transmission of results.
The Bill censoring the transmission of election results electronically got huge support at the legislative chambers.
Some Nigerian senators voted against free electronic transmission of election results from polling units.
Clearly, the legislators voted along party lines.
While majority senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, voted against, their counterparts in PDP voted in support.
Meanwhile, APC Senators outnumbered the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators.
Also, out of a total of 109 registered senators for the votes, 28 were absent.
While PDP senators who supported electronic transmission of results from polling units were 28, the APC Senators were 52.
The vote followed an APC senator from Niger State, Sabi Abdullahi, who proposed an amendment to Section 52(3) of the Electoral Act.
The section states that INEC “may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”
However, the proposed amendment supported by APC Senators stated thus:
“INEC may consider electronic collation of results, provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secured by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”
The Senators’ rejection of electronic transmission rather casts a gloomy shadow on the digitization drive of the country.
INEC Sticks With Technology:
However, INEC chairman has maintained that the commission will stick to technology for better functioning.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu expressed the commission’s determination to deepen Democracy through technology.
He said this following the senators’ moves against electronic transmission of election results.
He said, “We are working hard to ensure that just as we had a smooth take-off of the online pre-registration, the commencement of the physical registration will similarly be hitch-free.”
INEC Online Registration Surges:
Meanwhile, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) introduced by INEC has recorded huge success in just a couple of months.
Although INEC paused the exercise for some time after introduction, it launched the online CVR on June 28, 2020.
The Chairman of the Commission disclosed this during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja.
He said two weeks since the exercise began, a total of 542,576 Nigerians have completed the online pre-registration.
Out of the number, 456,909 are fresh registrants.
“Out of 542,576 online registrants so far, 356,777 (or 66 per cent) are young people between the ages of 18 and 34 years.
“This is followed by 134,719 middle-aged registrants who fall between 35 and 49 years.
“The third category is elderly persons aged between 50 and 69 years of which 44,896 Nigerians have registered.
“Interestingly, some 6,184 senior citizens (aged 70 years and above) have taken advantage of the new online opportunity to register.”
Technology mixed with Manual process:
Although the commission said it is aware that not all Nigerians have access to computers, smart phones or internet connectivity.
He added that a physical registration is still part of the complete process for voter registration.
“We have repeatedly assured every eligible registrant that there will also be an opportunity for physical or in-person registration at designated centres.
“Even the online registrants will have to complete their registration physically at those centres,”he concluded.
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