INEC: Funding Gap Will Not Derail Preparations for 2019 Elections

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  Promises to sustain improvement of smart card reader in 2019 polls

By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

With just 81 days to the 2019 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is working and consulting with relevant government agencies to make sure that funds do not hamper its preparations for the 2019 general election.

The commission has also promised that all procurement processes would be completed before  next year general election.

INEC National Commissioner and  Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, while responding to THISDAY enquiry through an e-mail, insisted that the electoral body is focused on delivering credible elections in 2019.

The electoral body said some of the processes and procedure had been rolled out for the 2019 elections, while others are still being piloted preparatory to the signing of the amendment to the Act.

He said: “On the issue of funding, INEC is proceeding with preparations for the conduct of the 2019 elections.

“The commission is working and consulting with relevant government agencies to make sure that funds do not hamper its preparations for the 2019 general election.

“The commission is determined to conduct good elections and will not allow funding gaps to derail its preparations.

“The commission assured the Nigerian people that all its processes are being deployed to ensure that all procurements are completed on time for the 2019 general elections.”

The National Commissioner said INEC has introduced far-reaching and creative innovations that would raise the bar of elections in Nigeria.

He explained that the management and arrangement of the polling units are being reappraised to guarantee and maintain the secrecy of the vote and maintain the independence and personal voting choices of the voters.

On whether the commission would ensure the deployment of Smart Card Reader in the 2019 elections across the country, Okoye noted that the commission introduced the smart card reader as a quality control mechanism to strengthen the authentication and verification of the Permanent Voters Cards and eliminate “ghost” voters and multiple voting.

He noted that smart card reader is being enhanced to increase its performance and minimise as much as possible glitches that occurred in few places in previous elections.

Okoye stressed that since the 2015 general election, INEC has conducted several stand-alone governorship elections in Edo, Ekiti and Osun States using the smart card readers, adding that in these elections, INEC has addressed  some of the glitches observed during previous elections.

“The Nigerian people have accepted the smart card reader as part of the electoral process and INEC is determined to sustain improvements to the smart card reader,” he said.

The commission however urged the media to partner the commission to improve the regime of elections rather than raising divisive and mundane issues that de-market the electoral process.