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INEC Adopts Electronic Voting System

Posted by From Funmi Peter-Omale in Abuja on 2005/08/05 | Views: 640 |

INEC Adopts Electronic Voting System


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it has adopted the Electro-nic Voting System (EVS) for the 2007 general election.

* 2007: We've no hidden agenda, says Iwu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday said it has adopted the Electro-nic Voting System (EVS) for the 2007 general election.

The commission's Chair-man, Prof. Maurice Iwu, however in an exclusive interview told THISDAY that the commission has no hidden agenda for the 2007 polls and would therefore allow voters to have a say in major decisions to be taken on the process.

Iwu had at the launching of the commission's National Stakeholders Election Forum held in Abuja said: "I constituted a committee to produce the major imperatives for successful conduct of the 2007 elections.”

"At its sitting on July 20, the commission decided that the time has come for the introduction of technology in our nation's electoral process.
"Accordingly, the commission has formally adopted the Electronic Voting System (EVS) as the method it will use for the 2007 polls."

He, however, said the commission needed to study the various options of the mechanised voting system as pilot project.

According to him, the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), as part of the EVS in 2007 elections will depend on the outcome of the pilot project.

He gave an assurance of the commission's readiness to provide basic electoral services to Nigerians in a timely, fair, honest, effective and transparent manner.

Iwu said the enormous challenges of the democratic project had elicited concerted efforts from all stakeholders.

He urged the newly inaugurated stakeholders forum to work together in the interest of the country.

Membership of the forum, headed by the INEC chairman, was drawn from the commission, political parties, the media, NGOs, the police and other security agencies.

"There are four components in the Electronic Voting System, the electronic voters register, method of the identification of the voters, the balloting sytem while the fourth one is the elctronic transmission of the outcome of the voting.Three out of the components have to be sorted out by the Commission.

But then we are a law abiding body and we depend on the rule of law and representation of the Nigerian people. So whatever we agree as a country that is what we will use," he said.

According to him, the logic behind the decision of the Commission to set up stakeholders fora at different levels was to ensure Nigerians were given the opportunity to form and shape the forthcoming electoral process.

"We have no hidden agenda and that's why we've been setting up stakeholders fora so that Nigerians would be given an opportunity to decide what they want and how they want it. our own job is to manage the elctoral process," he said.
The INEC boss said the benefits which the Commission derives from joint collaboration was inestimable.

'This can only further strengthen our democracy. It is becoming obvious that a major policy thrust of the 'new" INEC is the promotion and sustenance of more diffused approaches to governance in all parts of our society. It is therefore our firm belief that our proposed changes will only work if there are frameworks in place that assure very high levels of transparency, accountability and integrity. Even with these frameworks and values in place, the emergence of new forms of governance will still depend fundamentally on the capacity of individuals and groups to participate actively in making and implementing decisions," he said.

He said the Commission was determined to pursue everything that constitute best electoral practices as they relate to improving election management and tranparency in electoral procedure all geared towards a hitch free and fair electoral process in 2007.

"The Commission is resolutely determined to provide basic electoral services to which all Nigerians are entitled to in a timely, fair, honest, effective and transparent manner. A Servicom Unit has been established and the Charter will be launched shortly.

“The implication of the Charter is that INEC will demonstrate high moral standards, honesty, accountability and integrity in the discharge of the responsibilities bestowed on it by the relevant constitutional provisions, the electoral law and regulations," he added.

He also noted that the Commission alone cannot conduct a free and fair credible elections without the active participation of all stakeholders.
"In a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like ours, mitigating group tensions will always remain a cardinal function of any political institution.

Our voter education programme is hinged on the understanding that credible and acceptable elections are intrinsically linked to sustainable economic development" he said.

Iwu explained that for effective co-ordination of the activities of the fora, it was imperative to set up working committees at various levels and that yesterday's formal inauguration of the Forum opened a new vista of partnership between the commission and stakeholders.

Contributors at the inauguration commended INEC for initiating a laudable programme but advised that the Commission should ensure a continutiy of the programme so that it would not turn out to be another jamboree.

They urged INEC to ensure that in the new dispensation, women are carried along as they had been subjected to marginalisation in the past.

Meanwhile, National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa has said the party would not endorse the Stakeholders Election Forum comittee because political parties were not consulted before it was initiated.

"The PRP will not endorse the Committee until we have consulted ourselves. In the past, INEC under (Abel) Guobadia had always consulted with us but nobody consulted us before this was formed," he said.

Reacting to the complaint, Iwu explained that stakeholders were invited for the Forum to be formed and not because INEC wanted to impose anything on the political parties or on the stakeholders.

"The Stakeholders forum was just formed some few minutes ago. With all due respect, that's a ridiculous statement. Everybody was invited so we will all agree. And we all agreed here. You saw what happened here, I annouced the names and we asked Nigerains do you agree and they said yes. People spoke in favour of it. The whole idea of the forum is people oriented and it is a continous thing," he said.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.