INEC trains 82 officials on technology devices, urges parties to focus on issues

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced training of 82 top officials on technological devices to be deployed in the forthcoming 2023 general election.

The training which would last for three days is meant to equip the officials with the skills required to operate the various technical devices and they would in turn pass down the knowledge to other electoral officials and adhoc staff at the 8,809 wards and 176,846 polling units nationwide.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu while speaking at the opening session of the workshop on Tuesday noted that adoption of technology has improved and boosted public confidence in Nigeria’s electoral process. 

“Over the last two years, the Commission has increased the deployment of technology in the elections in Nigeria. Systems and portals have been designed and developed to cater for different electoral activities ranging from voter registration and accreditation, result transmission from the polling units, the nomination of candidates by political parties to the accreditation of polling agents, observers and journalists for elections. Of these innovations, most Nigerians are more familiar with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which doubles as a device for accreditation as well as the upload of the Polling Unit level result sheets to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real-time on election day. 

“These innovations have increased transparency and public confidence in the electoral process. They are also part of the legal requirements for conducting elections in Nigeria. The combination of the BVAS and the IReV portal have come to stay as a means of voter accreditation and transmission of election results,” he said.

While noting that INEC is convinced deployment of technology is key to the credibility of the forthcoming election, he noted that the training is part of the commission’s effort to build the capacity of staff on how to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process and resolve any glitches that may occur during elections.

“Today, we begin the process with the training of master trainers to serve as Registration Area Technical Support (RATECH). A total of 82 officials drawn from our offices nationwide will form the nucleus of the training. Over the next three days, they will receive intensive hands-on training on the new technology. Thereafter, they will train more officials at zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas (or Wards). In turn, these officials will be involved in the training ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.”






     

     

    Yakubu further urged the staff to pay keen attention to the details of the training adding that the agency would not condone laxity, ethical behaviours or any form of misconduct.

    He expressed dissatisfaction over reports of clashes among political parties and their supporters as well as denial of access to public facilities for parties and their supporters in some states during the electioneering campaign.

    “Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other. These are not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022 but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord signed about three weeks ago under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC). Parties, candidates and their supporters should not by acts of commission or omission further complicate the prevailing security situation in the country. A peaceful electioneering campaign is critical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.”

    He assured that INEC will continue to monitor the situation closely and convene a meeting with leaders of political parties and security agencies next week to discuss, among the other issues, the imperative of peaceful campaigns and equal access to public facilities.

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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