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INEC Begins Migration To Electronic Voting, Invites Over 40 Companies For Demonstration

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced replacing manual voting with an automated voting system, as part of the efforts to migrate fully to electronic voting as soon as enabling legislation is put in place.

The National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, assured Nigerians that the commission has taken another decisive step towards the full automation of the electoral process.

According to him, INEC has invited 40 manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world to practically demonstrate how the machines could work, preparatory to full migration.

Yakubu said due to the deployment of the election technology, the commission can now upload real-time, election results for public view.

He noted that INEC used this technology during the Edo State governorship election, where election results were uploaded in the portal: www inecelectionresults.com

Yakubu described the planned demonstration of the use of EVMs as a giant step in the commission’s continuous effort to deepen electoral integrity in Nigeria through the deployment of technology.

He explained that over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process as the biometric register of voters has been updated continuously.

“At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria,” he said.

In addition to this, Yakubu said the combination of biometric voters’ cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), and the Smart Card Reader (SCR) has revolutionized the accreditation of voters during elections.

He also explained that the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.

“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria,” he added.

Yakubu explained: “For some time now, the commission has been working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the current manual system which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver huge quantities of printed materials and a large number of ad hoc staff to administer the process.

“To this end, the commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.

“Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process.

“The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.

“In addition, the combination of biometric voters’ cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and the Smart Card Reader (SCR) have revolutionized the accreditation of voters during elections.

“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.

“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view.

“These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.”

To actualize this new election technology, Yakubu said that the over 40 companies that indicated interest will have to demonstrate to the commission how their IT solutions will meet INEC specifications.

He emphasized that this would only be a demonstration that would enable the commission to evaluate the available technology and where necessary fine-tune its specifications before proceeding to the next stage, which would involve the participation of stakeholders.

Details of the next steps, he said, would be given at the end of the demonstrations.

He stated that the commission is aware that Nigerians want INEC to deepen the use of technology in elections.

“Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of EVMs in elections in earnest,” he said.

INEC has continuously stated that it would adopt complete electronic voting in the 2021 Anambra State governorship election.

It, however, said this is subject to the approval of proposed amendments of the electoral laws currently before the National Assembly.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: The Nation Newspaper Head Office On Fire

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Suspected hoodlums have set ablaze the head office of The Nation Newspaper at Matori in Lagos on fire.

The development comes hours after the head office of Television Continental (TVC) was torched.

Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is believed to be the main target of the attacks.

More to follow…

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BIG STORY

Prosecute Soldiers Involved In Lekki Shootings, Reps Tell Buhari

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The minority caucus of the House of Representatives has called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to order the arrest and prosecution of soldiers who attacked #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday night.

The Minority Leader, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement issued on Wednesday, “strongly” condemned the killing of “peaceful and unarmed” protesters by security operatives at Lekki Tollgate and other parts of the country.

The protesters were attacked by soldiers, who fired live ammunition at them after the Closed Circuit Television Cameras in the vicinity were reportedly removed and lights were turned off.

In the statement titled, ‘Reps Minority Condemns Killing of Protesters,’ the caucus said, “such wicked act of extrajudicial killing of defenseless citizens by suspected agents of the state cannot be justified or condoned under any rule or guise whatsoever.”

The statement partly read, “As lawmakers and representatives of the people, we cannot accept this gruesome execution of our young ones in their own country by security operatives. Life is sacred and no one has the right to terminate the life of another just because he has the apparatus of state power.

“Such brazen brutally and defilement of right to life, which is at the center of the ongoing protests across the nation, underscores the demand for an immediate and total overhaul of our nation’s security architecture.

“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the arrest and prosecution of officers involved in the Lekki killing as well as the withdrawal of soldiers from engaging protesters.”

The caucus also restated its earlier call on Buhari to urgently rejig the nation’s security architecture through extensive reforms and urgent replacement of the service chiefs “with more competent and professional hands to assist in effectively handling of the security challenges confronting the nation.”

The caucus commiserated with the families of the victims of “this heinous act” while assuring them of immediate legislative actions that will ensure that justice is served.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Sanwo-Olu Condemns Shooting of Lekki Protesters, Apologises To Lagosians

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Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has condemned the attack on #ENDSARS protesters by security forces on Tuesday evening in Lekki toll plaza.

He also announced the suspension of all state activities for three days in solidarity with the ongoing #ENDSARS protests and agitations across the state.

He stated the flag at all government facilities will be flown half-mast in the next three days.

He made these disclosures in a live broadcast this morning where he also gave updates on the shootings of protesters.

According to Sanwo-Olu, he went out all night with members of his team and they visited hospitals, mortuaries to get first-hand information on casualties

The governor said 24 of the injured were being treated at three hospitals- General Hospital (10); Reddington Hospitals (eight) and another hospital (six) adding that three of the victims had surgery and about four would be discharged today.

Appealing for calm, Sanwo-Olu apologized to the youths, reiterating their anger was justified.

He pleaded with parents/guardians to restrain their children/wards as the government makes efforts to contain the situation.

Details shortly…

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