The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to resolve network issues that may arise in poor network areas over uploading of results for the 2023 elections.
The election umpire also announced on Friday that citizens who participated in the last voters’ registration exercise ahead of the 2023 general elections would be able to collect their Permanent Voters Cards from December 12, 2022.
The Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed the overture to the NCC Friday during a one-day strategic interactive session with journalists in Lagos.
The proposition to NCC follows concerns raised by Nigerians on the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in areas with poor networks.
Yakubu said the commission would meet with the NCC next Tuesday to discuss mobile network issues that may affect transmission of results in such areas.
He added that Nigerians have nothing to worry about regarding the effectiveness of result transmission during the 2023 elections using the BVAS.
Yakubu said: “INEC has identified blind spots (where there is poor or no network) and we are working to make sure there won’t be any problem.
“We are working with the NCC to make sure we transmit from blind spots. They are the network regulators and they will be very vital to that.
“We are making sure and working hard so that we transmit freely all around the country.”
In his remarks, Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, appealed to the media to continue to assist the commission to fight misinformation.
Okoye said with 84 days to the general election, the spread of fake news and misinformation on the electoral process had become worrisome.
He said there is a need for the media to assist in tackling the menace of false information for a successful general election in 2023.
Collection of PVCs Commences December 12
In a related development, INEC announced on Friday that citizens who participated in the voters’ registration exercise ahead of the 2023 general elections would be able to collect their Permanent Voters Cards from December 12, 2022.
According to the election umpire, the Commission met and deliberated on a number of issues, including the dates for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards nationwide.
The retreat was held in Lagos with all the Administrative Secretaries and Resident Electoral Commissioners from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory from November 28 to December 2, 2022. At the retreat, the Commission finalised the procedure, as well as the timetable for the collection of PVCs.
The statement by Okoye partly reads, “Consequently, the Commission has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 Local Government Offices of the Commission throughout the Federation.
“The Commission also resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th January 2023. Those that are unable to collect their PVCs at the local government offices of the Commission can do so at the Registration Areas/Electoral Wards. After the 15th of January 2023, the exercise will revert to the Local Government Offices of the Commission until January 22, 2023.
“All eligible and valid registrants can collect their PVCs from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.
“All the RECs and Electoral Officers have been directed to convene a meeting with the critical stakeholders in their States and Local Government Areas, including traditional and religious leaders, civil society groups, community-based organisations and the media to brief them on the modalities for the collection of the PVCs in order to sensitise the public and ensure seamless exercise.
“Similarly, RECs and EOs have also been directed to set up help desks to assist registrants with complaints about their PVCs or with the PVC collection procedure for immediate redress.
“The Commission appreciates the patience and understanding of Nigerians, especially those who registered as voters or applied for transfer/replacement of their cards from January to July 2022. In making the cards available for collection, the Commission is also working to ensure that the process is simple and hitch-free for Nigerians.”
Bennett Oghifo, Chuks Okocha and Gboyega Akinsanmi