In a strong defense of e-transmission of election results, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it has developed adequate structures and processes that can ensure the successful transmission of election results electronically.
In a “Position Paper No.1/2021 Electronic Transmission of Election” released on Saturday, in Abuja, INEC stated that the available national infrastructures, including mobile network coverage, were adequate to provide for electronic transmission of election results.
In the paper, INEC expressed its belief that electronic transmission of results would improve the quality of election results management, while its engagement with stakeholders had shown that the Nigerian public supported electronic transmission of election results.
“Consequently, if the choice was up to INEC, the commission prefers to transmit election results electronically once the necessary legal framework is provided,” it said.
According to INEC, the position paper aims to explain the desirability of electronic transmission of results as an electoral reform issue in Nigeria today, adding that it was also to clarify the position of INEC on some of the central issues around e-transmission of results and build consensus around them.
The commission disclosed that for over a decade it had piloted the electronic transmission of election results via Short Messaging System (SMS) for off-cycle and bye-elections in 2011.
“During the 2011 General Election, INEC unveiled the e-Track. The idea was to use handheld scanners to scan all polling unit results and send them as PDF files to a backend for processing and publishing.
It noted that for the 2011 presidential results collation, INEC set up a system of transmitting state-level results electronically to the national collation centre in Abuja, ahead of the arrival of the physical result, through a secured e-mail address that only the chairman of the Commission could access.
It added that since 2011, it had remained the procedure for collating Presidential election results at the National Collation Centre in Abuja and had since evolved into what is today called “The Collation Support and Result Verification System (CSRVS),” even though the manually collated results were still being used to declare results.
“Finally, for several off-season and by-elections conducted since the 2019 general election, the commission had begun to electronically publish images of polling unit results through its INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal,” it added.
“From the results obtained from these elections, the commission is convinced that electronic results management will add great value to the transparency and credibility of elections in Nigeria“, it added.