Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Hajiya Amina Bala Zakari, has said that the Commission will continue to push for more technology in the electoral process, because it ensures transparency in the electoral process.
During an interview session granted Channel TV’s Gbenga Ashiru, the INEC boss threw her support behind the introduction of Smart Card Reader (SCR).
She said: “the reforms are here to stay, the card reader is one of the best things to happen to Nigeria, and we are going to continue to push for the use of the card reader through our elections and even if we go beyond the card reader, to have more technology into our electoral process because it ensures transparency and efficiency of the process”.
Amina Zakari explained that the Commission will do everything to ensure maximum turn out and participation during the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections.
“We would try to sensitize the Kogi people and Bayelsa people to come out and register those that just turned 18. I am sure the numbers would not be high because we have worked out a lot throughout 2014 we will still do our best to make sure nobody is disfranchised through PVC or voter registration,” she said.
On procurement of materials needed for the forthcoming elections, she explained that the Commission was in the process of procurement but pointed out that “we have some materials left from the last general elections, we are taking an audit to see what we need, and basically it’s not much we need for bye-elections.”
“We are soon going to begin sourcing for ad-hoc staff and training them because we have good time and we should be able to deliver good elections,” she added.
When asked about INEC’s readiness to conduct elections in the two states termed “flash points” according to National Human Rights Commission, the Acting Chairman was quick to point out that these are normal challenges which the Commission faces. “During the era of the Niger-Delta militants we still held elections in those areas; we have held elections in Borno state, Yobe and Adamawa. These are the challenges the Commission is faced with but because we have good working experience with the security agencies through the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security with whom we hold periodic meetings, quarterly meetings we have been able to overcome most of these challenges,” she explained.
Responding to a question on the effectiveness of the Electoral Act is an effective working document to have credible elections, Amina Zakari opined that it needs some review and improvement, but admitted that: “it was the same Electoral Act we used in 2011 to deliver on the good elections and it is the same Electoral Act we used in 2015. So we continue using it until the time that it gets reviewed to optimum level but for now we don’t have a problem using the Electoral Act”.