No Electronic And Diaspora Voting In 2019 Elections – INEC


According to reports, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) on Monday ruled out electronic and diaspora voting in 2019 general elections.
The electoral umpire told the Senate that until the Constitution was amended and necessary logistics put in placed, the commission cannot delve into electronic and diaspora voting.
It said that electronic and diaspora voting do not only lack constitutional backing but were also expensive to execute.
The commission said that work was in progress to develop a strategic plan with a view to coming out with the financial requirements for the 2019 poll and other pending elections including the Anambra governorship election and Anambra Central Senatorial District by-election.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to defend the commission’s 2017 budget.
The committee had demanded to know the preparedness of the commission ahead of the 2019 general elections.
A member of the committee, Senator Yakubu Abubakar, wanted to know if INEC would key into the reported breakthrough of by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, (NASENI), in the invention of electronic voting in the 2019 general election.
Professor Yakubu noted that since the news of the electronic voting machine invention came up, he had not been either formally or informally informed by NASENI.
The INEC boss said that even if he was formally informed, to adopt electronic voting in the election, the possibility would not be feasible because the device should be tested to certify the efficiency.
He added that the device should also be produced in large quantity to cover the country’s numerous polling units.On whether INEC would incorporate diaspora voting in the election, the INEC boss answered in the negative.
He said that there was no provision for diaspora voting.
Yakubu noted that for INEC to adopt the system the constitution needed to be amended to give it legal backing.
He also said that the cost of running the method was very high.
The INEC boss said that adopting the method at this time of economic recession occasioned by the problem of currency exchange rates would deeply and negatively affect the country’s finances.
Yakubu noted that for the past three years, INEC’s annual budget had stood at N45 billion.
He said the commission was yet to know how much the 2019 general election would gulp.
The commission, he said, was already embarking on a strategic plan with a view to coming out with the actual financial figure the 2019 elections and others would cost the country.
He said that INEC’s purse had been deeply drained following “unscheduled elections” in the last one year caused mainly by deaths of 13 national and state assembly members.
He said, “For instance, in the last one year, we have conducted 13 unscheduled by-elections caused by deaths of some members of national and state assembly, meaning that on the average, a member of the national or state assembly dies every month. ”
Chairman of the committee, John Owan Enoh, explained that the purpose of the session was to avail federal government agencies that come under statutory transfer the opportunities of interacting with the committee on their revenue framework before approval for their various committees.

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