By Douglas Okoro
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it would use smart card reader and discarded the use of incident form for the 2019 election.
The electoral body used smart card reader in 2015 general elections as well as incident form.
Prof. Godswill Obioma, a Commissioner in INEC, revealed on Wednesday in Abakaliki at the end of a three-day training for implementers of the Election Monitoring and Support Centre (EMSC).
Obioma said that the decision was part of policy enunciations made by the Commission’s chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu recently in Abuja during a series of engagements with stakeholders, including the National Peace Committee.
“Smart card reader will be used in the election of 2019, that is the determining factor and that is to say that smart card will be used for first level of screening of those with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“The PVC has been configured as a biometric platform and smart card reader is supposed to recognise such biometrics.
“If you come with your PVC and it is your own, it is slotted into the smart card reader it will throw up your biometrics, including your physiognomy and your face and if that happen you move to the next stage of checking if your name is on the register.
“If your name is checked and found in the INEC’s voter register, you are given a ballot paper and that is the process we are going to use.
“But in the unlikely event that the smart card reader fails to identify your face and your name is on the register; such incident can happen, we don’t use incidence form as in the past because of all sorts of challenges associated with it.
“What we are going to do if such development occurs is to go to the register, identify your name and thick a box to show that you are the owner of the name and your thumb print will be picked in case of litigation to show that you are the one that voted,” Obioma said.
The resident commissioner commended participants to the workshop and noted that all strategic arrangements were in place for a credible, transparent and peaceful elections in Ebonyi.
He added that the training workshop was imperative for the successful implementation of the EMSC which he noted was an innovation introduced by the commission to enhance credibility of elections in the country.
According to him, the EMSC is an integrated support system for monitoring the implementation of the 2019 Election Project Plan.
He said that the EMSC initiative was an innovation by INEC to connect three components of the electoral processes which previously worked independently of one another resulting sometimes in role conflicts.
“INEC developed the EMSC to bring together the three components of the electoral processes which in 2015 worked independently.
“The three components are: election management system, election risk management and election operations support centre.
“Whereas the election operations support centre focuses on just before the election day and immediately after the elections, the election risk management focuses on risks, litigation, identifying flash points and areas that need more security.
“Election management system focuses on the entire election; so, all these components worked independently in 2015 and brought about role conflicts.
“They were not supporting one another and so the whole idea of EMSC is to bring these components together into one integral part for the effective conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“So, what the training has achieved is that we have assembled the implementers, trained them and equipped them with the necessary capacity needed to effectively function by understanding themselves as human persons”, he said. (NAN)