The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has hinted that it will employ both the manual and electronic methods in the transmission of the 2023 elections results in line with the provision of the Electoral Act 2022.

This is just as the electoral umpire allayed the fears over the political ambition of the Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Mr Godwin Amefiele, saying that would not jeopardise the conduct of the 2023 general elections, as there is the possibility of moving sensitive materials from CBN to another location if there was a need for such move.

Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, spoke on Thursday in Abuja during the 2nd quarterly consultative meeting with the media executives.

He clarified that the provision of the Electoral Act 2022 in the management of results is still basically manual involving the recording of results on forms and their delivery to various levels of collation until declaration and returns are made.

He further explained that the law still provides for e-transmission of results, Yakubu quoting section 64 of the electoral act said electronic transmission of results would only be done in the event of dispute during the course of collation.

Yakubu said there was the need to clear the misconception around e-transmission of results, stressing that many Nigerians equate it with electronic voting where voting can take place from any location.
A document containing the implementation procedure for electronic transmission of results which as made available to newsmen at the meeting indicated that the presiding officer is expected to transmit a clear image of form EC8A (result sheets) for purpose of collation which goes to the INEC Results Viewing Portal.

According to the document, the Polling Officer is also expected to deliver the hard copy of EC8A and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to the Registration Collation Officer.

But while responding to a question on the political ambition and partisanship of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Yakubu said the commission might be forced to find another arrangement for the handling of sensitive materials.

He said the apex bank is responsible for the storage and movement of sensitive materials, adding that the commission has never doubted the capacity of the CBN to discharge that responsibility.

“But I understand the context in which the question is asked. But you should also understand the context in which events are unfolding. As we speak our director, litigation and prosecution are in court. There is a case in court. We have been invited to state our own side of the story. We usually refrain from talking about such issues because there is essentially subjudice.

“But we have already started talking about what alternatives are available to us in case we need to change the arrangement for the handling of sensitive materials.
He, however, said the umpire would partner with the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to checkmate the spending of political parties during the poll.

He said: “INEC cannot just arbitrarily apply curbs on expenditure. Some are covered by the provisions in the Electoral Act. For instance, the cost of nomination forms is not provided by law. But in some cases, like contributions by any major politician to their parties, these are provided by the Electoral Act. Sometimes, it is very difficult to know how much they spend. It is true that we are working with the EFCC to see what we can do in the area of campaign finance.

He disclosed the 18 registered political parties have submitted their membership register their membership to the commission.

Yakubu added that the commission would soon finalise the document guiding the conduct of future elections, including the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun governorship elections as well as the 2023 General Election next week.

According to him, beyond the conduct of primaries by political parties, the commission is required to make regulations and guidelines for the implementation of the provisions of the Electoral Act.

“With regard to the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections, the commission is processing applications by media organisations for accreditation. I wish to reassure you that all applications will be carefully considered and expeditiously treated,” he said.

Speaking at the event, the President Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo, commended the courage of the National Assembly for the successful amendment of the Electoral Act and the final assent by the President.

He called on INEC to remain resolute and not to succumb to political actors on the issue of timetable and schedule of activities for the poll.

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