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INEC To Introduce New Technologies

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says  it is  reviewing its  adopted technologies for elections, with a view to introducing new ones to improve conduct of the elections ahead of 2023.
The INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity Department (VEP), Mr Nick Dazang, disclosed this yesterday at a workshop for the department on the “Review of National Voter Education Manual” held in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The five-day workshop is organised by INEC in partnership with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).
Dazang, speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the workshop, said INEC began the process for electronic voting since 2004 when it introduced optic map registration forms.
“After that in 2010, the commission introduced the use of direct data capture machines, and then expanded the use of the machines in the conduct of the 2011 election.
“So, we have started the process as far back as 2004, culminating in the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) and the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) that we also used in 2015.
“But the commission is reviewing this process with a view to upgrading and improving the conduct of elections in 2023.
“The commission wants to introduce new technologies that will help deepen the conduct of the elections, and also improve on them. So the commission is working assiduously on that.
“Very soon, when the commission has taken a position, it will come out and explain to Nigerians how this is going to be done,” Dazang said.
He said that in introducing the new technologies, INEC would revisit the use of card readers and likely to introduce other technologies that will work seamlessly with electronic voting in 2023.
“The commission has been working on that in the past few months and God’s willing in the next few months the commission will make its position known to the public.”
He said that INEC would continue to introduce new technologies to the electoral system, not for the fancy of it, but the technologies that worked.
He noted that the commission had no regrets on the technologies it had so far introduced for the conduct of elections in Nigeria as they had helped in deepening the process and the transparency.
Dazang said that the commission was also reviewing its voter education to enable it to explain better the planned technologies to Nigerians.
“In reviewing our voter education, we are looking at certain dynamics including the technologies that the commission intend to introduce.
“We have to be on top of the matters so that we can explain the application of these technologies to Nigerians as we did when we introduced SCR, direct data capturing machines and PVCs.
He described voter education as key part of the electoral process that needed concerted efforts not just from INEC, but all stakeholders.
“If you look at what is happening around the globe including Nigeria, so many changes are happening that necessitate the urgency to review voter education.”
This, according to him, include the issue of changes in technology and COVID-19, saying we need to change our communications process to respond to the changes.
“We need to change our communications in response to growing youth population. We need to use strategies that resonate with the youth and women population.”
On the amendment of the Electoral Act, Dazang said that the commission was working seriously with two committees of the National Assembly, adding that substantial gains were being made on the amendment.
He expressed optimism that the NASS would rise to the challenge in meeting up with its promise to Nigeria to amend the Electoral Act before the end of the first quarter of 2021.
On the Anambra governorship election, Dazang said that the commission would at the appropriate time issue the date and timetable for the conduct of the election, latest by six months to the conduct.
He urged the staff members of the commission to always upgrade themselves on new technologies as well as continue to obey the COVID-19 safety protocols.
The WFD Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, expressed the foundation’s continued determination and support for INEC to deepen voter education in Nigeria, especially at the grassroots.
He said that the foundation started its partnership journey with INEC in 2015 in ensuring more inclusion of women and people living with disability in electoral process.
Olorunmola commended INEC for deepening voter education and more inclusive electoral process for women and people living with disabilities.
He said that the workshop was key in enhancing voter education from the current way to wider and deeper ways to improve on future elections.
“There is nothing like advanced democracy anymore, but work in progress.
“If you look at what has been happening in U.S. even with their decades of practising democracy they are still moving to deepen voter education.”
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Anambra Guber Poll: PDP Chieftain Tasks Aspirants On Manifestoes

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Ahead of November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in the state has advised interested party members in the election to sell their manifestoes to the public, and not to the national secretariat of the party.
A contestant for the Zonal Women Leader of the South-East PDP, Amb. Juliet Anaeme, gave the advice in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by her Media Consultant, Soji Bamidele.
She recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had scheduled Anambra governorship election for November 6 and the period should not be seen as long for adequate preparations to achieve success.
“I call on the aspirants in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election to showcase their manifestoes, programmes and grassroots capacity not to the party’s national headquarters but to Anambra people on how they intend to govern the state when elected.
“This is because it is the people of Anambra that will vote and not Abuja connections that will vote any aspirant as the governor of the state.
“I call on the party also not to work against the will of the people of Anambra so as not to allow the ticket to be driven by the highest bidder aspirant against the will of people,’’ she said.
According to her, if PDP candidate cannot win Anambra, automatically the ticket becomes useless.
“So the big question remains that after you must have got the party’s ticket, what next are you going to do with it.
“There is always a winner and not winners when it comes to governorship election, nothing such as second position and the only way of becoming the winner is by venturing into grassroots mobilisation and getting closer to the voters,’’ she advised.
She also noted that PDP relied on the masses’ votes, advising the aspirants to identify with the grassroots, especially the students and groups to feel the pulse of the people.
According to her, party members ought not to wait until they have the party’s ticket to begin mobilisation in the grassroots to have a resounding success and victory in the election.
She further urged the executives of PDP in the state to, as a matter of urgency, put in place an internal mechanism that could bring all hands on deck to ensure the party’s victory in the November 6 governorship election in the state.

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C’River CP Vows Not To Dabble Into Politics

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The New Commissioner of Police, in Cross River State, CP Sikiru Kayode Akande has said that he will not dabble into politics.
Speaking to newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State Capital, CP Akande said he was in the state as Commander Mopol 11 and vowed not to dabble into Politics.
On what he would not like to do, the CP said he will not dabble into politics and that he was not going to replace wrong for right or right for the wrong
The CP said the Command would use technology to look at crimes in Cross River State so that crimes can be identified and tackled immediately.
On the operation of a Security Outfit code name ‘Operation Akpagu’ introduced by the Cross River State Governor, CP Okande said “I am studying the operational plan of Operation Akpagu.
“It came into existence before I came, one thing I know, I have told the Governor, if we want internal security to be 100%, give all that you have to the police”
“If you look at the headquarters, it is as old as Nigeria itself, when you go around, you observe that the oldness seems to have affected the ways we are doing things.
“I have mandated my Provost to take a structural appraisal of all that we have. I saw the PRO’s office, that building should be like about 100 years and it should be in the National Achieve.
The CP, however, regretted that the State Government was not providing adequate assistance to it, “All the DPOs are complaining that they don’t have operational vehicles, what do you want them to do, the moment you give us what we want we will clear everywhere the moment, we are empowered”.

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Ondo: OPC News Era Lambasts Presidency

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The Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) New Era has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to allow Governor Rotimi Akeredolu fix the security situation in his state.
OPC New Era made this disclosure while reacting to a statement credited to Mr. Garba Shehu Special Assistant to President Muhamadu Buhari on Media and Publicity.
It will be recalled that Akeredolu had given an ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate Ondo forests.
Shehu in his reaction however said that Akeredolu does not have the power to do so.
But, National Publicity Officer of OPC New Era, Comrade Adesina Akinpelu, while reacting, hinted that the group is ready to mobilise all militant groups in the South Western States of the country in favour of Akeredolu.
Akinpelu who spoke with newsmen in Ibadan yesterday condemned in totality the reactions of Buhari’s spokesman on the ultimatum given by Akeredolu to the unregistered herdsmen grazing on the soil of Ondo.
Akinpelu added that Yorubas both at home and in the diaspora should not allow the struggle of their leaders to be in vain.
He said, “Why is it that President Buhari is only responsive to issues that concern the Fulani more than other tribes in the country.”
Akinpelu disclosed that when the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti was allegedly killed by the Fulani kidnappers, there was no tangible response from the Federal Government except a condolence letter sent to the family without any action to fish out the killers.
Akinpelu, however, disclosed that all militant groups in the Southwest will be mobilised to defend Akeredolu and the entire Yoruba speaking states.
Akinpelu hinted that it was obvious that the herdsmen have President Buhari as their patron.
“During the reign of the former governor of Oyo State, late Lam Adesina, Buhari rushed down to Oyo State when a crisis erupted between the Fulani and Yoruba people, and that was an indication that President Buhari maintained a bond with the Fulani herdsmen.

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