By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Lagos, Sept. 26, 2022
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it plans to reveal its findings on investigations carried out on alleged Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) found in different locations in Nigeria, in the nearest future.
Mr. Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, said this at a two-day capacity workshop for INEC Press Corps on critical issues in the Electoral Act, 2022 and preparations for 2023 General Election on Monday in Lagos.
Okoye said that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was expected to brief Nigerians on the findings.
“The chairman has made it clear that we were going to investigate that particular issue and that we were going to make our findings public.
“The chairman will make finding of the commission public as relate to PVCs allegedly found in inappropriate locations,” Okoye said.
On the perception that incidence forms may still be used for 2023 general election, Okoye said the usage of the forms in Nigeria’s electoral process was dead and buried.
He advised the electorate to look at how to advance in the usage of technology in the country’s electoral process and not to move backward.
“We have retired the Smart Card Readers and incidence forms, and nobody can resurrect them. People should leave some of the things that we have already buried.
“We should now be talking on how we advance. We are advancing. Technology moves forward. Technology does not move backwards,” Okoye said.
He also faulted allegation that some of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) accredited as election observer groups were owned by INEC officials.
Okoye said that as a product of civil society and former chairman of Transition Monitoring Group for four years, he knew the process and criteria involved in accrediting organisations as election observers.
He said that INEC has already published it applications calling on NGOs and CSOs as well as international organisations interested in monitoring the 2023 general elections to apply.
He said no organisation would be accredited without being registered by Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), as well as having a bank account and credibility in monitoring elections.
He wondered why any INEC officials would be interested in such when the commission does not pay money to accredited observer groups.
Speaking earlier, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said that since the conclusion of the 2019 general election, INEC had embarked on internal restructuring, engagements with stakeholders and several innovations aimed at improving its services and the electoral process.
Rotimi said that the efforts have produced some positive results, including the replacement of the old Electoral Act ,2010 with a new Electoral Act 2022.
“The workshop’s main objective is to broaden the participants’ knowledge about the commission’s processes and procedures, innovations, critical aspects of the new Electoral Act 2022 and preparations for the 2023 General Election.
“Ultimately, the outcome will equip them with the comprehension that they need to report more accurately and robustly on the commission’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026, the Election Project Plan, Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections (2022) and adequately propagate its voter education strategy for the 2023 poll,” he said.
Denis Mutabazi, representative of the European Union Support Democratic Governance (EU-SDG)/DAI, said the workshop would avail the commission the opportunity to unveil its strategies for a free, fair, and credible 2023 election.
“The event is a crucial demonstration of INEC’s strong commitment to transparency and in ensuring that the public is well informed about INEC’s stewardship of the electoral process,” Mutabazi said.