• Rues violent campaigns by political parties


‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja


DAILY COURIER – The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has declared that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS and INEC Result Viewing, IReV Portal, have come to stay as a means of voter accreditation and transmission of election results.


He said this at the opening ceremony of a 2-Day Training of Master Trainers on Technologies for 2023 General Election, holding in Abuja in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems IFES Nigeria.


Prof Yakubu noted that the experience of recent off-cycle elections has taught the Commission that a critical success factor in the deployment of technology in elections is training. “We need to build the capacity of the staff involved not only to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process but also respond effectively to any glitches that may occur during elections. Our plan for the 2023 General Election is to commence the training of election officials early and for a longer period of time for optimal understanding of the processes and procedures in order to serve Nigerians better. A key component of this effort is election technology” he said.


He further charged the master trainers to pay attention to the training in other to be in an informed position while reproducing the skill sets to other levels of electoral staff.


He said, “I urge the 82 staff involved to pay special attention to the training that you will receive at this Workshop. Your role as master trainers is critical to the success of training at subsequent levels and ultimately the successful deployment of the devices during elections. For this reason, the Commission will not accept laxity on your part. Much as we have confidence in your ability to understand and discharge your responsibilities to the officials you will subsequently train, there will be consequences for unethical behaviour or any act of misconduct. I wish you a successful training.”


Rues violent campaigns by political parties


On reported clashes among supporters of political parties in some parts of the country and the shutting of public places against political opponents, Prof Yakubu noted that it is worrisome adding that it is against the Electoral Acts and the Commission is monitoring the development.


“Even as the Commission is working hard to ensure a credible process in the forthcoming elections, reports of clashes among parties and their supporters in some States of the country during the ongoing electioneering campaign is worrisome. So too is the reported denial of access to public facilities for parties and candidates in some States of the Federation. Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other. These are not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022 but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord signed about three weeks ago under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC). Parties, candidates and their supporters should not by acts of commission or omission further complicate the prevailing security situation in the country. A peaceful electioneering campaign is critical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation closely and will convene a meeting with leaders of political parties next week to discuss, among the other issues, the imperative of peaceful campaigns and equal access to public facilities. In the same vein, the Commission will also meet with the security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week” he added.


The chairman, board of INEC Electoral Institute, Prof Abdullahi Abdulsoro while delivering his welcome address also reiterated the role of quality training of staff in the quest for a credible election said, “good training of staff will lead to free and credible election which in turn lead to a happy outcome for Nigerians. Hence, this training is significant because the master trainers will multiply the skill sets in their various training jurisdictions. And more significant is the overall impact in achieving a free and credible election in 2023.


“The Commission will rely on you to casscade this rigorous training to the various levels to guarantee a credible and free election. I implore you to give this two days rigorous trainning all the seriousness it requires.”


The country director, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Mr Seray Jah says that the trainnig is a huge opportunity to enhance the credibility of the 2023 elections through wholesale ICT trainning of its Master Trainers which will cascade to over ten thousand other staff in the forth coming election.


“INEC can count on our commitment to partnering with the Commission to ensure credible elections in Nigeria” he said.


The three days training of master trainers to serve as Registration Area Technical Support (RATECH) is made up of 82 officials drawn from INEC offices nationwide. They are required to receive intensive hands-on training on the new technology. Thereafter, they will train more officials at zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas (or Wards). In turn, these officials will be involved in the training ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.


Other dignitaries at the opening ceremony are National Commissioners of INEC, representative of USAID, members of the technical team the DG of the Electoral Institute directors of the Commission and other officials.