The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that the addition of technology into the commission’s operations was in line with its commitment to deliver credible polls before, during and after the 2023 general elections across the country.
He added that the new technology introduced into the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), among others of its operations and processes have positioned the electoral umpire to better deliver on its mandate and ensure Nigerians vote counts.
Yakubu, who stated this on Friday when he led a delegation of the National Elections Commission of Liberia to the CVR physical registration centre at FCT headquarters’ INEC office, assured that the commission would stop at nothing in digitalising its processes.
Yakubu said that compared to experiences from previous CVR exercises, the commission had been able to eliminate the crowd at CVR centres with the new technology.
According to him, so far so good, quite a number of the pre-registrants have come on appointment to complete their registration.
“A number have also come to register physically because that is an option of physical registration, in addition to the completion of the online registration. “So far, you don’t see the kind of crowd that we used to see during registration.
“Recall that between 2017 and 2018, we conducted a CVR over a period of 16 months and we learnt from the experience of that exercise. That is why we now introduced more technology into the process.
“As you can see the queue has disappeared and we are able to serve Nigerians better for that reason,” he said.
Yakubu said that INEC would continue to do so until the end of the exercise on June 30, 2022, when it would suspend the process to enable the commission compile the voters register, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu said that the essence of the tour was to provide field experience to the NEC-Liberia delegation, who were in Nigeria to understudy INEC’s voter registration system.
“So, in addition to the briefing in the office yesterday, we thought we could bring her to one of our offices in Abuja, to actually see how voters are registered,” he said.
The Chairperson, National Elections Commission of Liberia, Davidetta Lansanah, commended the leadership of INEC for sharing Nigeria’s experience with them.
She said that the experience learned during the study tour would help Liberia in adopting the CVR in their country.
“There are lessons that have been learned since we have been on this tour. We have seen that the electoral commission of Nigeria has invested so much in technology, in terms of the availability of the technology to Nigerians.
“This makes it important for Nigerians to come out to register ahead of the 2023 general elections in the country. Another lesson learned is that the earlier you start, the better the process.
“So, the continuous registration here in Nigeria, I think creates the opportunity for an increase in the number of Nigerians taking advantage of the system,” Lansanah said.
She added that the Liberian team was elated to be in Nigeria for the study tour because there was so much to learn.
“I will say that while we have similarities, there are some differences with how we are proceeding. Your country is a great one.
“We know that a lot of Nigerians are upbeat with respect to the continuous voter registration that is now ongoing, and I can only hope that Nigerians will take advantage of this online registration process,” she said.
Lansanah said that the online pre-registration would not only help to eliminate time wasted on registration, it would also help INEC to have accurate data for elections.
INEC’s Director of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Chidi Nwafor, explained the registration process and the deployed technology to the visiting team, saying that the process had so far been effective and efficient.
A registrant, Dr Saudiq Abdullahi, who just finished his registration process at the visiting time, described the process as fast and efficient.
Abdullahi commended INEC for the new procedure, saying “I first registered online and when I came here I was able to complete my registration within 15 minutes”.