The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended the processes of the procurement of electronic voting machines over the delay in the passage of the Electoral Act amendment into law.
A top official of the commission said that there is nothing the commission could do now as a major aspect of the Act, concerning the electronics transmission of results, was rejected by the National Assembly.
“There is no problem; it is natural that the commission stays action on the procurement process of the machines. The commission as a law-abiding institution is waiting for the final amendment of the Electoral Act. This did not stop other activities relating to e-voting and others like the smart card readers and others like that,” the official said.
The passed act is awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent or rejection.
There have been calls for full electronics voting over the years, but some concerns, including the fear of cybercrime and manipulation by political players, have hampered the process.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, recently said the commission by its own processes and procedures, is dealing with four components of Electronic Voting System (EVS), the Electronic Voter Register (EVR), Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), Electronic Voter Authentication (EVA) and Electronic Transmission of Results (ETR).
He also said the commission had invited 49 companies for a Request for Information (RFI) demonstration and that it was yet to shortlist any company for the purposes of supplying any of the machines.
He, however, said that the commission is working on the estimates for the machines and working at procuring at least 200,000 units.
He also noted that the commission had been uploading Polling Unit (PU) results with its Smart Card Readers (SCRs), the Z-pad and other electronic solutions.
Earlier, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on September 28, 2020, said the commission has commenced processes that would lead to replacing manual voting with automated voting or electronic voting system.
He said INEC had invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to practically demonstrate how the machines worked preparatory to full migration.
However, he was yet to respond to the message and also did not pick calls to his telephone as at the time this report was filed.