The National Assembly and the Presidency, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), are responsible for developing a new electoral framework ahead of the 2023 general elections.
INEC Commissioner Festus Okoye said this on Monday in Abuja at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room National Stakeholders’ Forum on Elections.
In terms of the electoral management body, he claimed that INEC was still using the old electoral legal framework because the new one was not yet ready.
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He claimed that the new electoral framework had some fundamental flaws. One of the major concerns of the electoral management body is the deepening of democracy through the application of technology.
INEC, according to Okoye, decided from the start that it was important in the national interest to reduce human interference in the electoral process, and as a result, decided to expand the use of technology in the electoral process.
“That explains why, as of today, political parties file the information about their nominated candidates electronically rather than bringing documents to our office.
“As of today, domestic election observers, international election observers, and the media can all apply for accreditation online.”
“INEC was the first electoral management body in Africa to introduce online voter registration, and as a result, you can see an astronomical increase in the number of young people who have pre-registered before their biometrics have been captured.”
“Now, what is different about the new electoral bill?” Prior to this time, the uploading of polling unit results was solely for public consumption.”
The second issue, which Okoye described as “very challenging and difficult to handle,” was related to internal democracy in political parties.
According to him, two methods of voting in primary elections, direct and indirect primaries, have been imputed to the existing electoral legal framework.
Parties had held direct primaries prior to this period, according to Okoye, and the INEC had monitored both direct and indirect primaries.
“What we must keep in mind is that the political parties are responsible for the success or failure of direct primaries because they are the ones who will hire the venue for their own primaries.”
“INEC will not hire venues for them; they will print their own ballot papers and result sheets, and they will obtain their own ballot boxes because we previously provided them with ballot boxes, which they did not return.”
“This time, we’re not going to give them ballot boxes; they’re the ones who’ll secure the electoral environment; our job is to keep track of what they’ve said they’ll do.”
“There is no way we can put cost or even personnel to the number we are going to deploy until the political parties bring out their own design, which the new electoral framework says they should bring out,” he said.