The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on Thursday, said processes that will ensure the achievement of electronic voting in Nigeria, are already in place.
The administrative secretary in charge of INEC, Anambra State, Jude Okwuonu made the disclosure during a Voter Education and Sensitization Workshop for media personnel held at the INEC State Headquarters in Awka.
The workshop had as its participants, representatives of various media outlets in the state.
According to Okwuonu, almost all the processes in the electoral system have been digitized and that is the criteria for electronic voting.
“The process of achieving electronic voting in Nigeria is ongoing.
“We may not be able to tell you categorically the day or month it will happen but it is going to be possible one of these days because what we have done enables that.
“Presently, we are doing electronic accreditation, electronic capturing of data and the electronic transfer of results.
“So, we are getting there,” he said.
The Anambra INEC boss emphasized that following the rot in the nation’s electoral system and the lack of confidence in the process, the 2022 Electoral Act and the innovation INEC has put in place are the only reasons why the people are interested in the 2023 general elections.
He explained the workshop was to acquaint himself with the media practitioners as well as to brief them on preparations ahead of the 2023 General Elections.
“We have recognized the critical role the media plays in not just propagating INEC information and getting feedback from the citizens, but also in correcting misconceptions and myths that drive the people’s poor participation in the electoral process.
“The media is a credible and reliable partner to the INEC in the conduct of a successful election, as was seen in the past elections.
“We urge the Media to support our efforts to conduct a credible election in 2023 and the INEC is determined to conduct free, fair and transparent election come 2023,” he said.
In a presentation on preparations ahead of the 2023 elections, the Head of Department, Electoral Operations, Kingsley Anuforo represented by Uffiah Kanu, Head of Unit, election management, made it clear that election is not an event but a process that culminates in the election day.
According to him, the INEC had commenced preparations for the election a long time ago.
He said having concluded the Continuous voter Registration, sorted the registrations and cleaned up the voter register, the INEC is presently distributing the first batch of the voter’s cards, adding that the second and third batches will soon be out.
The Head of ICT and Voter Registration, Engr Chukwuemeka Nnaji HOD, ICT/ VR Engr Emeka Nnaji spoke on how the new innovations and technologies INEC has introduced have made the elections credible.
He noted that the 2022 Electoral Act had empowered the INEC to deploy technological devices that will improve the conduct of the elections transparently.
“Prior to 2010, INEC introduced Direct Digital Capturing, DDC machines which was used to collect data during the CVR process and from the DDC. We later moved to card reader in accrediting voters, in trying to correct the shortfalls observed.
“But in every technology, there are rooms for improvement, so the card reader was based on reading the finger prints and when there were challenges, wehad to consider how to deepen the technology, vis a vis, the challenges observed.
“That was when we merged the DDC and the card reader and improved on it to make it more flexible.
“The INEC then developed the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS which has two modes of capturing and reading data- facial and fingerprints.
“The device has finger prints scanners and two cameras and works with a cloud storage system that makes data not resident in the devices but in a cloud storage system.
“The BVAS was successfully test run in Delta, Ekiti and Osun elections, and there were very minimal glitches, resulting in drastic reduction in the litigations that arise after elections,” Nnaji observed.
Other persons who also harped on the need for the media to support what INEC is doing to achieve credible elections in 2023, were the HOD Voter education, Barr George Edeani, the HOD, EPM among others.
Journalists at the workshop who spoke including the Anambra State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Dr Emeka Odogwu, the Chairperson of NAWOJ, Franklin Onyekachi among others raised concerns over the workings of the BVAS and the need for INEC to address some critical issues that still cast a shadow of doubt as to their preparedness for the exercise.