* To transmit presidential poll results electronically, physically
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has revealed that the N198 billion budgetary allocation for the funding of the forthcoming general election, has been released to the commission.
The electoral body has also stated that the results of the February 16 presidential election will be transmitted electronically from the polling units, while the result box will be carried physically by the collation officers.
The National Assembly had last year approved a total sum of N189,207,544,893 for the conduct of the general election as proposed by the commission in the supplementary budget.
Yakubu disclosed this on Tuesday while updating the Council of State on the preparation of the next month general election.
According to the presentation, which was made available to THISDAY yesterday said, “the 2019 general election will be the largest single-day peacetime logistics and security undertaking by the commission since 1999, with 84 million voters, 91 political parties, 23,213 candidates vying for 1558 positions, involving over 814,000 electoral officials.”
Yakubu said the 2015 general election was a watershed in the history of the country’s democracy, stressing that INEC was fully aware of the enormity of conducting the 2019 general election and would spare no effort safeguarding the integrity and credibility of the country’s elections and the consolidation of the country’s democracy.
For logistics, the chairman noted that identification and recruitment of 814,453 adhoc staff for the election had been concluded, adding that the training would commence on January 23, 2019.
According to him, the arrangement for the timely receipt and speedy distribution of sensitive materials; ballot papers and result sheets had been made.
He also revealed that security deployment plans are being finalised with the security agencies to secure the elections.
The chairman explained further that the deployment of non-sensitive materials, like voting Cubicles, Ballot Boxes and others, was ongoing and would be completed on schedule.
The chairman said the procurement of additional Smart Card Readers (SCRs) to replace missing or damaged units has been concluded.
He said that 8.3 per cent female and 91.7 per cent male would be contesting for presidential candidates; while 30.6 per cent female and 69.4 per cent males would be contesting as vice presidential candidates.
Also, 12.3 per cent female would be contesting for Senatorial seats, while 87.7 per cent male would be contesting for the same seats.
Yakubu stressed that 88.4 per cent male would be contesting for House of Representatives, while 11.6 per cent female are contesting for same seat.
On age distribution, the chairman said 17 presidential candidates are between 35 and 45 years; 27 presidential candidates are between 46 and 55 years, 20 presidential candidates are between 56 and 65 years, while seven candidates are above 65 years of age.
To Transmit Presidential Poll Results Electronically, Physically
Meanwhile, INEC has stated that the results of the February 16 presidential election will be transmitted electronically from the polling units.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Cross River State, Mr. Frankland Briyai, who stated this in Calabar yesterday, said the transmission of the results electronically would minimise controversies and disagreements concerning the election results.
Briyai, who spoke at a press briefing on modalities packaged by the commission to ensure the success of the presidential and National Assembly elections, said: “Results will be transmitted from the polling units electronically and the result box will also be carried physically by the collation officers.
“When the collation officer comes with the physical result, it will be confirmed with the electronic results in the presence of the party agents and INEC staff.
“It is only when the physical result and the electronic results correspond that it will be approved and accepted by the party.”
The REC also said the card readers that would be used for accreditation of voters have been enhanced to minimise failure when they are put to use during the polls.
“Our smart card readers have been enhanced and upgraded. We have tested them at Osun, Ekiti States as well as Anambra Central senatorial district. In Anambra State, the failure rate was about 0.0 percent, and in Osun State, I did not hear of any Smart Card failure. In our bye-election in Obudu, there was no Smart Card failure. The reason is that at each polling unit, we have technicians that fix these Smart Card readers in case of any challenge,” he stated.
Briyai said as an additional measure to avoid failure of card readers, INEC workers that would be deployed to the polling units will be given adequate training.
“One of the problems we discovered over time was that the ad hoc staff did not know how to use the Smart Card readers appropriately, but this time, we are going to have a series of training for them so that they can be very proficient in the use of the card readers.
“On the use of smart card readers, in case it fails, as long as your name and your passport photo are on the voter register and your name is on the permanent voter card, you will be allowed to vote. They will just tick the column on the incident form, and you would be allowed to vote, so failed smart card reader cannot stop our elections at any polling units,” the REC added.