By G9ija

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is contemplating the introduction of new technologies to improve the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

It also hinted that existing technologies would be reviewed for optimum performance.

INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), Mr. Nick Dazang, stated this at a workshop for the department on the “Review of National Voter Education Manual” in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The five-day workshop was organised by INEC in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).

Dazang said INEC began the process for electronic voting in 2004 when it introduced optic map registration forms.

He said: “After that, in 2010, the commission introduced the use of direct data capture machines, and then expanded the use of the machines in the conduct of the 2011 election.

“So, we started the process as far back as 2004, culminating in the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) that we also used in 2015.

“But the commission is reviewing this process with a view to upgrading and improving the conduct of elections in 2023.”

“The commission wants to introduce new technologies that will help deepen the conduct of the elections and improve on them. So, the commission is working assiduously on that.

“Very soon, when the commission has taken a position, it will come out and explain to Nigerians how this is going to be done.”

The INEC director explained that in introducing the new technologies, INEC would revisit the use of PVC and likely to introduce other technologies that will work seamlessly with electronic voting in 2023.

He added: “The commission has been working on that in the past few months and, God willing, in the next few months, the commission will make its position known to the public.”

Dazang assured the nation that “INEC would continue to introduce new technologies to the electoral system, not for the fancy of it, but the technologies that work”.

On the amendment of the Electoral Act, Dazang said INEC was working with two committees of the National Assembly, adding that substantial gains were being made on the amendment.

He expressed optimism that the National Assembly would rise to the challenge in meeting up with its promise to Nigeria to amend the Electoral Act before the end of the first quarter of 2021.

On the Anambra governorship election, Dazang said the commission would, at the appropriate time, issue the date and timetable for the conduct of the election, latest by six months to the poll.

He urged INEC workers to always upgrade themselves on new technologies as well as continue to obey the COVID-19 safety protocols.

The WFD Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Adebowale Olorunmola, expressed the foundation’s continued determination and support for INEC to deepen voter education in Nigeria, especially at the grassroots.