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INEC says Nigeria ready for electronic voting

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INEC insists APGA won’t participate in Anambra guber poll

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted on electronic transmission of election results for future general election in Nigeria.

It also disclosed that 93 per cent of the Polling Units in the country have internet and GSM facilities to cover the remaining seven per cent.

The electoral commission further revealed that the result of a 10-year diverse pilot programmes it conducted since 2011 and the discussions it held with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that the national infrastructure is adequate to support the electronic transmission of results.

In its position paper on the desirability of electronic voting and transmission of results in real-time, signed by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the electoral body said it had developed adequate structures and processes to successfully transmit election results electronically.
The commission sought a clear legal mandate for the implementation of the electronic transmission of election results with the Electoral Act amendment.

INEC argued in the position paper dated ‘September 13, 2021,’ that the “electronic transmission of results will improve the quality of election result management and that our engagement with stakeholders shows that the Nigerian public supports it.”

In the paper titled: ‘INEC Position Paper No.1 2021: Electronic Transmission of Results,’ the commission stated that the technology and national infrastructure to support the electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria are adequate.

“Consequently, if the choice was up to INEC, the commission prefers to transmit election results electronically once the necessary legal framework is provided,” it said, adding that “the transmission of election results electronically is both desirable and doable”.

The commission argued that the recent debates in Nigeria over the provision of Clause 52 (3) of the Electoral Bill 2021 regarding the electronic transmission of election results “have been marked by entrenched partisan positions, incomplete information, unsubstantiated fears, groundless conspiracy theories, and profound misconceptions.”

It further stated that it was curious that its perspectives on this very important issue of election management remain either completely absent in the debates or at best misconceived.

INEC explained that in the course of the National Assembly seeking to amend or repeal and re-enact the Electoral Act 2010, a national debate has arisen over the commission’s readiness and the capacity of national infrastructure for transmitting election results electronically.

“It is worthy of note that none of the sides in this controversy appears to substantially question the desirability of electronic transmission of election results. It seems that only the preparedness of INEC and the capacity of national infrastructure are questioned,” it added.

INEC noted that many Nigerians had called on it to make its position on the issue public.
The commission disclosed that its positions on the issue were informed by a decade of its technical field experience, piloting, and engagement with critical stakeholders, particularly the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on electronic transmission of election results.

It argued that a decade was not a short time for it to determine whether it was ready.
INEC stressed that its intervention in these debates, particularly through its position paper, should not be misconstrued as denuding the powers of any other agency or authority to perform its functions or to hold views on the issues in question that are contrary to those of the commission.

INEC stated that the answer to the question of the desirability of electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria today may be summed up in three words – trust, efficiency, and safety.
The electoral body disclosed that the verdict of Nigerians was that a progressive application of technology to election management increases trust in the electoral process.

“When the commission introduced the biometric register, chip-based voters’ card, and Smart Card Reader (SCR), they were widely acclaimed to be behind major improvements in the quality of elections, particularly in 2011 and 2015. Since then, Nigerians have pushed for more and more reduction in a human intervention that could alter the wishes of voters in elections,” it explained.

The commission said in line with the aspiration of Nigerians, it has continued to work tirelessly to introduce appropriate, targeted, and safe technology to electoral activities, adding that the most recent was the introduction of online pre-registration for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
INEC also said the health and safety of people must be paramount in all electoral activities, including elections.

INEC said the conclusion it drew from the “diverse pilots conducted since 2011 is that the country is ready for electronic transmission of results. The national ICT infrastructure is also adequate for the electronic transmission of results. This is underscored by all the discussions we held with the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), over the ten years of these pilots, but especially between 2018 and 2019. It is important to share the outcome of those discussions to underscore the commission’s conviction about the readiness of the country for electronic transmission of election results”.

On its engagement with NCC and MNOs, the position paper noted that “INEC has had a longstanding partnership with both MNOs and NCC.”

“Over the years, they have partnered INEC in sending bulk SMS, providing shortcodes, assigning e-lines, as well as mapping networks for the use of Smart Card Readers, all of which have been invaluable to the work of the commission. This partnership has continued with the discussion on electronic transmission of results,” INEC added.

INEC noted that on January 30, 2018, its chairman, Yakubu had paid a visit to the NCC and asked for partnership on the commission’s task of conducting free, fair, and credible elections, particularly as it concerns telephony and data transmission support for the electoral process, ahead of the 2019 general election.

“Subsequently, the two commissions established the INEC/NCC Joint Technical Committee on Electronic Transmission of Election Results, which was co-chaired by Mr. Ubale Maska, the NCC Commissioner for Technical Services, and Dr. Mustapha Lecky, an INEC National Electoral Commissioner,” it said.
According to INEC, the Joint Technical Committee included all the major MNOs.

It further disclosed that the final report of the committee signed by the Co-Chairmen and presented August 9, 2018, had noted that mobile networks adequately covered 93 per cent of INEC Polling Units with the capacity to cover the outstanding seven per cent.

“The committee went on to allocate Polling Units to the four major mobile network operators – Airtel, Glo, 9Mobile and MTN – to transmit election results,” adding that a total cost implication of N395,123,000 was worked out for the services covering the cost of SIM, system configuration and integration, system support and data bundle with one-year validity.

It said the Joint Committee also made other technical recommendations, including the allocation of one terabyte (1TB) of data bucket per 10,000 SIMs per annum by the network operators and configuration of one Access Point Name (APN) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) “by all operators towards INEC platform to enhance security”.

The committee disclosed that the detailed work and recommendations involving the major MNOs and the NCC as the regulator of telecommunications in Nigeria, profoundly convinced it that electronic transmission of election results was possible for the 2019 general election.
“INEC expected to receive a clear legal mandate for electronic transmission of election results with the Electoral Act amendment that was ongoing at the time to commence implementation. Unfortunately, that did not happen,” the position paper added.

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2023: 6 APC govs oppose Tinubu’s presidential ambition — Dayo Adeyeye

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National Chairman, South-West Agenda for Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition, codenamed (SWAGA) 2023, Mr. Dayo Adeyeye has disclosed that 16 All Progressives Congress (APC) governors are covertly supporting the presidential aspiration of the former Lagos State governor.

The party currently has 22 governors under its platform.

Adeyeye, a former Minister of Works (state), said this while inaugurating the factional executives belonging to SWAGA group across the 16 local government areas of Ekiti State.

The former minister said: “Bola Tinubu will be the next President of this country and one of us will become the governor in Ekiti State. I am happy that the new executives have passion for this group and this will lead to action and, eventually, victory for all of us.

“APC leaders and members across board are using their money to fund SWAGA. Members are not after money. Let me tell you this, 16 governors are now backing Tinubu for president and they are no longer afraid, after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State openly supported us when we did the flag off in Lagos.”

On the new parallel executives inaugurated by SWAGA, the former Minister said: “Those that were inaugurated today (yesterday) are the authentic APC executives in Ekiti. The party at the national level brought out a guideline that people should come out and queue to vote for the ward and local government congresses, but these people didn’t come out.”  

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2023: Atiku, Tambuwal, Bala Mohammed have indicated interest in running for presidency – Gov Makinde

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has disclosed that three leading members of the People Democratic Party (PDP) have so far indicated interest in contesting in the 2023 presidential election.

The three according to Makinde are former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar , Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal.

There have been speculations in the past weeks over the candidates for the next general elections, especially with the issues raised around zoning.

Makinde, speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, boasted that the PPD has “eminently qualified” personalities that can lead Nigeria.

He also said the only way PDP can be stopped, is if the party is divided internally.

“Once PDP governors are able to move in one direction, align on most of the issues and the challenges we are faced with, I think there is hope for this country.

“Our party has eminently qualified personalities that can lead this country successfully.

“Some have indicated interest like former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, like governor Tambuwal, like governor Bala Mohammed.

“The bottom line is when we get to that bridge, we will definitely cross it. What is important at this stage, which I will solicit the support of PDP members and the generality of Nigerians, is please support us to have a successful national convention.

“There is no way you can become anything — president, vice-president, even governor — if we don’t have a party. What we want to do first is ensure that we get things right within our party,” Makinde said.

When Makinde was asked if he thinks PDP will take over power from the APC in 2023, he replied: “Well, it is a question that I know Nigerians will answer and they will answer decisively.”

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List of Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari’s loyalists declared winners of APC party congress in Adamawa

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Various contestants endorsed by Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari have all won in the just concluded state congress of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa.

A unity list said to have been endorsed by Aisha Buhari saw all the names listed, winning various State Working Committee (SWC) offices contested.

Others said to have also endorsed the list are former Governor Murtala Nyako, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha.

By the end of the congress, which took over 30 hours, all loyalists of the First Lady had won the offices they contested for.

However, the outcome has been fiercely rejected by a group backed by former SGF, Babachir Lawal and sex toy-loving senator, Elisha Abbo.

Spokesperson for the group, Barr. Shagna Pwamaddi, told journalists that “the purported state congress was a sham”.

“The exercise was marred by irregularities, including over-voting.

“We would not hesitate to explore the internal mechanism for resolving disputes, failure of which we’ll challenge the outcome in a law Court,” he said.

The list seen by SaharaReporters has Ibrahim Bilal returned as State Chairman.

The list of other exco members is as follows:

  1. State Chairman – Ibrahim Bilal
  2. State Deputy Chairman – Samaila Tadawus
  3. State Secretary – Dr. Raymond Dauda Chidma
  4. State Asst. Secretary – Mohammed Raji Suleiman
  5. State Zonal Vice Chairman I – Isa Bagalchi
  6. State Zonal Vice Chairman II – Wilfred Huam
  7. State Zonal Vice Chairman III – Ahmed Bako
  8. State Legal Adviser – Idris Shuaibu
  9. State Asst. Legal Adviser – Muawiya Mohammed
  10. State Treasurer – Yahaya Hamajulde
  11. State Asst. Treasurer – Gambo Bakari Shelleng
  12. State Financial Secretary – Ibrahim Abdullahi Wali
  13. State Asst. Financial Secretary – Medan Kaigama
  14. State Organising Secretary – Mustapha Atiku Ribadu
  15. State Asst. Organising Secretary – Stephen Helma Semete
  16. State Publicity Secretary – Mohammed Abdullahi
  17. State Asst. Publicity Secretary – Adamu A. S. Magaji
  18. State Welfare Secretary – Audi Monday
  19. State Asst. Welfare Secretary – Shehu Ahmed Iya
  20. State Auditor – Obed Shadrach
  21. State Asst. Auditor – Mark Dauda
  22. State Women Leader – Hauwa Hammajalo
  23. State Asst. Women Leader – Salamatu Hassan
  24. State Youths Leader -Abubakar Abubakar
  25. State Asst. Youths Leader – Idris Abubakar
  26. State Special Physically Challenged Leader – Ibrahim Alhassan
  27. State Senatorial Youths Leader I – Stephen Gerison
  28. State Senatorial Youths Leader II – Idris Buba Malabu
  29. State Senatorial Youths Leader III – Usman Hamalai
  30. State Senatorial Women Leader I – Rose John
  31. State Senatorial Women Leader II – Melody Musa
  32. State Senatorial Women Leader III – Aisha Adamu Namtari
  33. State Ex-Officio I – Jamilu Abubakar
  34. Ex-Officio II – Saidu Maitalata Naira
  35. Ex-Officio III – Bello Baballo
  36. Ex-Officio IV – Gloria Makson

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