Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reached an agreement with the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) on the use of satellite to enhance the transmission of election results from each polling pnit nationwide irrespective of location.
The collaborative venture would also enable INEC to carry out voter education and sensitisation through electronic message display.
Speaking during a meeting with the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Abimbola Alale and management staff of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT), the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the aim of the deal is to extend satellite coverage to areas currently not covered by 3G and 4G networks (the so-called â€œblack spots).
He said the commission was out to mobilise all national assets and institutions for the success of the elections and the consolidation of democracy.
â€œIt is for this reason that we wish to leverage on the capacity of NIGCOMSAT to provide a wide range of telecommunications services. In particular, your broadband service offers a tremendous flexible bandwidth capacity that can be deployed almost anywhere and in a short period of time, including hard-to-reach and temporary locations.
â€œThese are invaluable to the work of INEC. Working with you and in partnership with the NCC as well as the telecommunications operators, we believe the challenges to the seamless transmission of results are not insurmountable.
â€œWe are similarly aware that NIGCOMSAT has the capacity for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting, multimedia, video streaming, Hotspot event services and indoor and outdoor electronic message displays. These services are invaluable to our work on voter education, sensitisation and mobilisation for elections.
â€œAccordingly, as we prepare for the 2019 general election, INEC wishes to collaborate with NIGCOMSAT in the following areas: Extension of satellite coverage to areas currently not covered by 3G and 4G networks (the so-called â€œblack spotsâ€) so that INEC can transmit election results from each Polling Unit nationwide irrespective of location; and voter education and sensitisation through electronic message display,â€ he said.
Yakubu assured Nigerians of the determination to transmit the raw figures of election result, as well as the scanned images of the result sheets from polling units in the 2019 general election.
He also said the commission would continue â€œto make available hard copies of results sheets to political party agents at each polling unit and collation centres against which the integrity of electronically-transmitted results can be compared, verified and authenticated.â€
According to the INEC boss, â€œIn keeping with our current practice, a copy of the result for each election shall be pasted at the polling units immediately after the counting of ballots for public knowledge and accountability.