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‘Allow us to determine suitable technology for elections,’ INEC tells NASS

THE Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has asked the National Assembly to allow the commission to determine what technology to use in elections without any restrictions.

Yakubu made the request yesterday at a meeting with the National Assembly conference committee on the Electoral Act amendment bill in Abuja.

The Senate and House of Representatives set up the committees to harmonise the differences in the bill passed by both chambers in July.

He said: “The Electoral Act is one of the most important laws in any democracy. An election is a process anchored on a legal framework. First is the constitution, followed by the electoral act. In all jurisdictions, the electoral act provides more detailed provisions to govern the conduct of elections and the electoral process.

“One of the unique aspects of the current amendment of the electoral act is that it started well ahead of the forthcoming general election, unlike previous exercises which came too close to elections.

“The importance of starting early is that it allows for a thorough debate by citizens on aspects of the bill long after the conventional public hearing as witnessed recently. Clearly, the electoral amendment bill 2021 is one of the most extensively debated bills in Nigeria.

“Understandably, the issue of technology in elections has dominated recent public discussions in Nigeria. The commission appreciates the decision of the national assembly to empower INEC to determine and deploy appropriate technology in future elections.

“For us in INEC, this is one of the progressive decisions by our national assembly. As you finalise the electoral amendment bill, I urge you to continue to endow the commission with the power to determine what technology to deploy in our elections at the appropriate time.

“One way of doing so is to make broad provisions of the law that will empower the commission to continue to innovate without restricting us to a specific technology such as the smart card reader, which could in due course become obsolete, inapplicable, or irrelevant as is already the case following the recent introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation system (BVAS) by the commission.”

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