The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would deploy technological solutions to checkmate security threats on its personnel and facilities during the November 6 Anambra State governorship election.
INEC’s Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said this after declaring open a retreat to review the operationalisation structure of the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) on Friday in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
Yakubu said at the event organised by INEC and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) that the development of a security application was necessary following the spate of arson, vandalism and other forms of attacks targeting the commission’s facilities in recent times.
According to him, the application would be integrated into the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC) to avert or mitigate potential risks or threats to the election.
Daily Trust reports that INEC had recorded 41 attacks on its facilities across the country within the last two years.
“Something new and innovative that we are deploying for the Anambra poll is the security app in view of the recent attacks on our facilities across the country.
“When an election is conducted, there are thousands of interrelated activities happening across the country in far locations, and the commission must be in a position to effectively monitor these activities and like everything we do, we don’t just monitor manually but using technology.
“These tools have been of tremendous benefits or otherwise how do you track the deployment of thousands of activities during elections.
“They are not new as we started deploying these tools since 2010 and we have used them for three general elections now.
“As a testimony to its robustness as an election management tool, many countries in the West African Region and beyond have shown interest in studying and adopting the EMSC system for their use,” Yakubu said.
He said that reviewing such technology would assist the commission in resolving its anticipated challenges before the 2023 General Elections.
Speaking on the electoral act amendment bill recently passed by the National Assembly, Yakubu said the commission could not immediately comment on its provisions until the lawmakers conclude the legislative process on the bill.
He, however, said the current electoral law was adequate enough for the commission to continue with the deployment of certain technologies.
He said: “We don’t need any provision of law for instance for us to deploy EMSC or technology for voter registration. So, we will wait and see what eventually comes out from the National Assembly for us to effectively comment.”
Also speaking, the ECES project coordinator, Hamza Fassi-Fihri, represented by the Senior Electoral Administration Expert, ECES, Dr Isiaka Yahaya, noted that the EMSC had come to stay as an indispensable and integral part of Nigeria’s electoral system.
He added that the platform is also a process to be exported by Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in the African region and beyond.