The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner in charge of Operations, Okechukwu Evans, yesterday announced that in line with the existing electoral act 2010 (as amended), there would be manual transmission of results in this year’s elections.He stated this while presenting the 2019 general elections guidelines yesterday in Abuja, adding that it is empowered by extant laws to use the smart card reader technology for accreditation during the forthcoming polls.
It said it has residual powers under the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) to adopt any accreditation and procedure convenient to it and would use card reader in this regard.INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, who spoke at the commission’s consultative meeting with the Media said President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the electoral act would not affect the 2019 general elections in any way.
Yakubu stressed that the use of smart card readers for accreditation in the 2019 general elections was mandatory as clause 10 of the election guidelines makes it offensive for a concerned election staff not to use the device for accreditation.He dismissed insinuations that new polling units, or voting points settlements were being created by INEC, saying voting points have been increased in Abuja following the 2015 experience, while polling units where people have been completely displaced would be moved to the respective camps where they stay.
Explaining further, Evans said the guidelines have introduced, ‘the margin of lead principle, where an election is postponed in line with section 26 of the electoral act and it is ascertained that the total number of registered voters in the polling units affected by postponement is less than the margin by which the leading candidate stands ahead of the second candidate in the election.
This indicates that election results will not be affected by the postponement, as the Returning Officer shall make a return for the election.“Where the margin of lead between two leading candidates in an election is not in excess of the total number of voters registered in polling units where elections are not held or voided in line with sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act, the Returning Officer shall decline to make a return until polls have taken place in the affected polling units and the results collated into the relevant forms for declaration and return,” he added.Evans explained that the simultaneous accreditation and voting pattern experimented in off-season elections would be used in the forthcoming polls.