2023: INEC Unveils Guidelines, Okays Electronic Transfer of Results, Bars Telephones in Voting Cubicles
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday released the guidelines for the conduct of the 2023 elections, almost eight months in advance.
The election umpire unveiled the guidelines on its website and announced it on its official Twitter page, @inecnigeria.
It tweeted, “The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has unveiled the revised INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections.”
The 37-page document, downloadable from the commission’s website, contains 106 guidelines and regulations for the 2023 elections, as well as health measures during the conduct of elections.
In article 30 of the guideline, the commission stated that telephones and electronic devices capable of taking pictures are not allowed in polling booths.
Article 30, “Prohibition of the Use of Telephones and Other Electronic/Photographic Devices in the Voting Cubicle,” states: “Telephones and other electronic devices capable of taking pictures are not allowed in voting cubicles.
“Voters may come to the Polling Unit with telephones and other electronic devices provided that they do not take them to the voting cubicles or take pictures of other voters while they are voting.”
In the revised guideline, INEC also, among other things, approved the electronic transmission of election results in line with Electoral Act 2022.
Article 38 on Electronic Transmission of Results and Upload of Results to INEC’s Result Viewing Portal (IReV) states: “On completion of all the Polling Unit voting and results procedures, the Presiding Officer shall: (i) Electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit, direct to the collation system as prescribed by the Commission.
“(ii) Use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), as prescribed by the Commission.
“(iii) Take the BVAS and the original copy of each of the forms in tamper-evident envelope to the Registration Area/Ward Collation Officer, in the company of security agents. The Polling Agents may accompany the Presiding Officer to the RA/Ward Collation Centre.”
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, while speaking during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja yesterday, said with the presentation of the guidelines, the Commission had commenced formal preparations for the polls.
Mahmood noted that this would be the first time the Commission was releasing the guidelines nine months before the general election.
He stressed that the ICCES would continue to play a critical role and extended the appreciation of the electoral umpire to all security agencies for their support.
He said: “With the release of the Regulations and Guidelines today, and the publication of the Strategic Plan (SP) 2022-2026 and Election Project Plan 2023 earlier, the Commission has virtually concluded the planning processes for the 2023 General Election nine months ahead of the election.
“In the next couple of weeks, the training manual will also be presented to Nigerians. Going forward, the Commission will focus on election administration: logistics, training, voter education, technology, sensitisation against vote-buying, inclusivity measures and, above all, security. ICCES will continue to play a critical role and the Commission appreciates the support of all security agencies.”
The INEC Chairman recalled that at the last ICCES meeting, stakeholders agreed to reconvene before the forthcoming Ekiti governorship election.
Yakubu said: “As is the case on the eve of all major off-cycle governorship elections, ICCES holds a special meeting to review the security situation during which the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the Commissioner of Police (CP) will brief us on the state of readiness for the election. I am glad to welcome the REC for Ekiti State, Dr. Adeniran Rahmon Tella, and the CP, Moronkeji Adesina, to this meeting.”
He said with only 15 days to the Ekiti Governorship election, all the major activities that should to be carried out at this stage had been successfully undertaken.
The INEC Chairman continued: “I led a team of INEC National Commissioners to Ekiti State early this week to assess the Commission’s preparations for the elections.
“We visited our offices in several Local Government Areas, held meetings with our staff, had an audience with the Council of Obas to solicit the support of their royal majesties for peaceful elections and met with the security agencies.
“We also observed the ongoing training of ad hoc staff and the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for mock accreditation of voters in some polling units across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“We will again return to Ekiti State shortly to meet with the stakeholders and for the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and candidates under the auspices of the National Peace Committee.
“As the Commission is getting ready for the Ekiti State Governorship election, we have also gone far with similar preparations for the Osun State Governorship election holding next month i.e. Saturday 16th July 2022.”
Culled from THISDAY