The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is considering the use of electronic transfer of results in the 2023 elections, it was learnt at the weekend.
Other options being considered according to sources include: a combination of manual and electronic techniques and the retention of manual technique.
It was learnt that the electoral empire’s national commissioners are split on the three options, making the chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to call for input from the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), the ICT, Legal and Voter Education units.
After the return from this consultation, INEC is considering a retreat to take a position on the mode of transmission which will form part of its submissions to the National Assembly.
Although the electoral agency executed pilot electronic transmission of results in some elections, it discarded it or manual transmission of the 2019 general elections.
The mode of transmission of 2019 poll results became a legal issue with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) taking up issues with INEC over ‘a server’ at the Presidential Election Petitions Court.
But the Supreme Court established that there was no server used by INEC in the election.
A national commissioner said: “As part of our anticipated electoral reforms, we are expecting that we will have enabling environment to be able to do what we want to do.
“INEC wants to specifically determine whether it should use manual or electronic transmission of results.
“It is true some of us still prefer manual system and others are demanding a shift to electoral transmission of results.
“We have some strong advocates of the manual being the preference and electronic system as a back up to transmit results from 2023. Those for electronic transmission have not clarified whether it is scanning of result sheets or uploading of results through servers.
“Apart from internal consultations, the mode of transmission of results for 2023 poll will get clearer when we our proposals get to the National Assembly.
“INEC has opted for widespread consultations on either manual or electronic transmission of results. We have not taken any decision.
“Some are very strong on a combination of the two modes of transmission of results. They said while manual will be the main thing, electronic system will be a paper trail.
INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said, “We are studying the provisions of the bill. When we finish internal review of the bill, we will engage the National Assembly.”