Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has advised states’ Independent Electoral Commissions to emulate the commission in the deployment of technology for conduct of elections.
Yakubu gave the advice when he received the Executive of the Forum of States Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) led by its Chairman, Mrs Gloria Ukpong, in his office on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the time had come for SIECs to adopt the use of technology in conducting elections, saying that INEC had taken the bold step in introducing technology to the process.
“It is now time for the SIECs to follow suit. We cannot continue to operate manually if we must achieve credible and free elections in the country.
“I hope very soon the use of technology will become mandatory for conduct of local governments elections in the country,” Yakubu said.
He said that the commission would not only continue to collaborate with SEICs but would strengthen its Memorandum of Understanding with them, including capacity-building within available resources.
Yakubu promised that INEC would give necessary support and collaboration to SEICs towards ensuring that their elections were credible “to deepen the country’s democracy’’.
Speaking earlier, Ukpong said that the forum executives were at the commission to ensure that the MoU between it and INEC was improved upon.
Ukpong, who is also Chairman of SEIC, Akwa-Ibom, said that through the MoU, the relationship between the two bodies had been strengthened while the capacity of SEICs’ staff had been improved.
She, however, urged INEC to help SIECs in training of staff and use of technology such as card reader.
“In SIEC, only one state has deployed technology in the conduct of its election.
“Others are looking forward to the adoption of technology in the process but it is quite expensive, especially this period of the economy,’’ she said.
Ukpong also urged INEC to assist the states in accessing the updated voters register, saying that while some states had been able to update their registers, other had been unable to access it at INEC.
“Democracy is there for the people and people should be happy whenever we conduct free and credible elections,” she said.