INEC says no phone calls for collation officers

Posted by Grand News | 15 January 2019 | 878 times

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ha said that collation officers will be barred from making or receiving telephone calls during ballot collation.

The electoral umpire according to The Nation said this on Monday.

It says, there will be simultaneous accreditation and voting and mandatory use of Smart Card Readers (SRC) in the guidelines released yesterday for the forthcoming elections.

The adoption of simultaneous accreditation and voting was despite opposition by some political parties.

The presidential election leads the way on February 16.

In the final regulations and guidelines signed by its Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the Commission said that elections will start by 8am and end by 2pm.

Polling officers are expected to be at the voting centres by 7.30am.

The commission warned that any attempt to resist the use of the SCR for the conduct of the elections will attract prosecution. No vote shall be recorded where there is resistance to card readers.

Wherever there is sustained malfunctioning of the Card Reader, and efforts made to replace becomes impossible by 2pm, the elections shall be moved till the next day.

It also said that, anybody who impersonates by presenting another persons’ Permanent Voter Card (PVC) with the intention to use it to vote shall be arrested and prosecuted.

The guidelines banned the use of telephones and other electronic devices capable of taking pictures in voting cubicles.

The INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, reacted to the threat by some 61 political parties that have objected to the guidelines.

The provisions are designed to strengthen the electoral process and expand access to voters, he said.

Okoye said: “Presently, the Commission is consulting with and holding strategic meetings with traditional and religious leaders in all the States of the federation on the distribution of PVCs; the maintenance of peace in their various domains and communities and engaging them on some of the policies and programmes of the Commission.

“The Commission consulted political parties, civil society groups and organisations, professional groups and societies, the media and other critical stakeholders on the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the 2019 elections.

“The Commission forwarded the regulations and guidelines to the 91 registered political parties and held interactive meetings with their leadership at the Electoral Institute.

“The political parties and their leaders made oral and written submissions on how best to improve the regulations and guidelines. The Commission also held consultative meetings with civil society groups and the media and they made oral and written submissions.

 “Based on these, the Commission rolled out the final regulations and guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 elections and the  regulations and guidelines are issued as a Decision Extract of the Commission of the 12th day of January, 2019 and supersedes all other regulations and/or guidelines on the conduct of elections issued by the Commission and shall remain in force until replaced by new regulations or amendments supported by a Decision Extract of the Commission or an official gazette.”

Source: Grand News

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