Ibrahim Oyewale, Lokoja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has planned to introduce electric voting machines and other relevant technology to fast track the electoral process for 2023 General Elections in the country.
The National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voters Education, Festus Okoye disclosed this while speaking at a the one-day workshop for the staff of Commission at the INEC headqaurters in Lokoja , Kogi State capital on Thursday, said the workshop become imperatives for the Commission’s staff to be part of changes.
Okoye explained that the Commission plans to robustly ramp up its use of technology in the electoral process, stressing that this will include the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines.
According to him , “steps to accomplish this end have already gone far. These voting machines will be deployed to all the polling units and will be aligned to the already introduced devices and means that will amply raise the integrity and transparency of the electoral process.
“The introduction of technology in the electoral process by the Commission has been a gradual but steady process. Nothing in the enhanced technology-based system will, however, disadvantage any section of voters.
“With the new method, registered voters must still physically go out to the Polling Units to exercise their franchise. Nothing in a enhanced technology process provides for people voting from the comfort of their homes.
“The question of internet and cyber voting are issues that are left for the future. To give life and meaning to these innovations, the Voter Education and Publicity Department of the Commission will play a commanding role.
“All officers for electoral duties, whether staff of the Commission, ad-hoc staff or collation officers and indeed all Nigerians who are involved must be trained on the new technologies and innovations to be introduced”, he added.
He told participants as Public Affairs officers, they will be required to communicate these changes to the Nigerian people, adding that they must then understand the changes first and must internalize the changes.
“You must have the intellect and capacity to understand the intricacies and nuances of the changes. You must understand the country and its peculiarities and design communication strategies that are simple, creative, effective, forward looking and targeted at the large and growing population that is adept at modern technology.
“It is the duty of the Voter Education Department and its communication experts that you are to drive these changes at the crucial level of linking the changes up with the people for whom they are made for,” he said.