Commission adopts direct result collation, transmission method
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Christiana Ekpa
Indication emerged yesterday that the 2019 general election is being threatened by the continued delay in the passage of 2018 Electoral Act by the National Assembly.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmud Yakubu, who said this while defending the 2018 budget of the commission before the Senate Committee on INEC, explained that passage of the Electoral Act is a prerequisite for the commission to carry out a cost assessment to determine what the commission will require for the conduct of the general election.
Yakubu Mahmud who said the total budgetary figure of the commission for the 2019 general election was still being complied, pointed out that the exact figure or amount of money the 2019 general election will cost the commission across the 119,999 polling units in the country can only be arrived at, after the passage of Electoral Act by the National Assembly.
“It is provisions of the amendment to 2010 Electoral Act after passage by the National Assembly that will show the commission how elections at primary level by the political parties would be conducted and monetary cost that would entail on the part of INEC, let alone the general elections”, he said.
The INEC chairman also said the commission is ready to adopt direct collation method and transmission of results from polling centers across the country in the 2019 polls, adding that eighty five persons from sixteen thousand workforces in the commission have died in the year 2017.
He also disclosed that INEC is scheduled to meet with the NCC and the telecommunication operators next week, to finalize arrangements for providing effective network coverage in areas not properly covered, as part of measures to ensure full deployment of the planned technological gadgets for 2019 polls.
Meanwhile, the INEC boss who revealed the high rate of death in the commission while responding to the issue of provision of sick bay in the commission said some of the deaths were recorded within the premises of the commission as a result of heart attack triggered by high blood pressure.
“Due to the nature of our work, our staff work under intense pressure to the point that many of them have no time for routine medical checkups which often lead to high blood pressure and heart attack on some of them while on duty either here in Abuja or at our state offices.
“In fact, last year alone, preponderance of the 85 staffers that we lost died through such circumstances hours or few days after being rushed to hospitals. The reason why we decided to have sick bays in our offices now for preventive measures”, he said.
He added that aside budgetary provisions being made for establishment of sick bays in INEC offices, a total of N9billion has also been set aside in the 2018 budget estimates of the commission for hazard and other allowances for staffers on the field.
The Senators therefore advised the INEC Chairman to ensure that he eliminates the fire brigade approach that had affected the successful conduct of free and fair elections, by making adequate provisions to monitor all party primaries in 2018 before the general election in the following year.
Meanwhile the Senate Committee on INEC screened additional 8 nominees as Resident Electoral Commissioners.
Those screened and given the clean bill of health yesterday were Dr Usman Ajidagba from Kwara State, Baba Yusuf Abba from Borno State, Segun Agbaje from Ekiti State, Yahaya Bello from Nasarawa State, Mohammed Magaji Ibrahim from Gombe etc.