In a recent statement, INEC boss, Mahmood Yakubu revealed that the electoral umpire plans to try the use of e-voting machines during the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
According to INEC, it will also adopt electronic platforms for the submission of nomination forms by political parties ahead of governorship elections billed to take place this year.
INEC added that it would keep cleaning up the biometric register of voters while continuous voter registration is suspended for now, to prevent the health risks associated with it in the context of COVID-19.
A recent statement read, “In order to accommodate additional activities in setting up the PU due to COVID-19, polls shall now commence at 8.30 am and close at 2.30 pm.”
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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set up in 1998, is the electoral body which oversees elections in Nigeria.
The origin of the INEC goes back to the period before Independence when the Electoral Commission of Nigeria was established to conduct 1959 elections. The Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), established in 1960 conducted the immediate post-independence federal and regional elections of 1964 and 1965. The electoral body was dissolved after the military coup of 1966. In 1978, the Federal Electoral Commission was constituted by the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, organizing the elections of 1979 which ushered in the Nigerian Second Republic under the leadership of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It also conducted the general elections of 1983.
The INEC has encountered several controversies in the run-up to elections in the country, most notably the April 2007 general elections, including criticism about its preparedness from Sada Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and a dispute over its “disqualification” of Vice president Atiku Abubakar’s candidacy. The Supreme Court ruled that the INEC can not disqualify candidates, so Abubakar’s name was added to ballots at the last minute.
INEC was accused of widespread electoral irregularities in the 2019 presidential elections including cases of ballot paper unavailability, smart card readers malfunctioning and large cancellation of valid votes. The main opposition has planned to contest the results of the election.
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