The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) told the Senate on Monday February 13 that it had no intention of incorporating electronic and diaspora voting in the the 2019 general elections.
INEC explained that until the constitution was amended and necessary logistics put in place, it could not delve into such areas which it described as not ‘only lacking constitutional backing but also expensive to execute’.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance to defend the commission’s 2017 budget, was responding to questions by members of the committee, who requested to know the preparedness of his organisation ahead of the general election.
When asked if the commission would key into the recently widely reported breakthrough by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in the invention of electronic voting in the 2019 general election, Yakubu said he had not been either formally or informally reached by the NASENI since the invention was made, adding that he only heard about it in the media like any other person.
He, however, said even if he was reached formally to adopt electronic voting in the election, it would not be possible, given that the device, apart from requiring to testing to certify its efficiency, would also need to be produced in very large quantity to cover the country’s numerous polling units.
Answering another question from Senator Umaru Kurfi, APC, Katsina Central, on whether INEC would incorporate diaspora voting in the election, the INEC boss emphatically said no, explaining that the country had not made provision for such.
He said the commission would not adopt the system because of its capital intensive nature, aside from the constitution which had to be amended.
Prof. Yakubu added that adopting the method at this time of economic recession would deeply and negatively affect the nation’s treasury.