Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, has said it will implement various technological tools to predict and mitigate election violence, verify political party spending, and monitor election materials from procurement to storage and delivery.

INEC President Mahmood Yakubu revealed this while speaking at Chatham House, London on Tuesday. He spoke about the commission’s preparation for Nigeria’s upcoming general elections in less than 40 days.

The presidential and National Assembly elections will be held on February 25, while the gubernatorial and State Assembly elections will be held on March 11.

The commission has repeatedly said that it is ready to hold the elections and does not foresee any changes to the planned schedule of activities.

In addition to the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Visualization (IReV) portal that will be used in voter accreditation and results display during elections, Mr. Yakubu listed other technologies that the commission will implement to ensure credible and transparent elections.

Election Operations, Procurement and Logistics

INEC has developed a web-based and Android-based logistics management system to monitor the movement of election materials from procurement to storage and delivery, Mr. Yakubu said.

He said the commission, for the first time, has a comprehensive Election Logistics Framework (ELF) “to guide general election logistics from planning through deployment to recovery. This is the first deployment of a comprehensive logistics framework for the elections.”

He added that the commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the coordinating bodies of the trucking and maritime unions to ensure the safe and smooth delivery of materials before, during and after the elections.

This, he said, was to address all the bottlenecks noted to ensure more efficient and timely delivery of materials to voting units.

Violence Mitigation and Risk Management Tools

With the increase in attacks on commission facilities and insecurity in all regions of the country, Mr. Yakubu said the commission and its partners have developed the Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT) and the Electoral Risk Management (ERM) Tool.

While EMVAT is a research and diagnostic tool for predicting and mitigating election violence ahead of elections, he said the ERM tracks and reports overall risks to elections.

“There is no doubt that violence and the threat of violence are major challenges to credible elections in 2023,” he said. “In general, we feel safe because of the actions we have taken and our collaboration with security agencies. The 2023 general election will proceed as planned. There is no plan to postpone the elections.”

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Campaign Finance and Vote Buying

In the past, political parties have taken advantage of INEC’s “late and disorganized” frameworks for scrutinizing campaign finance, to breach campaign funding and spending limits provided by law, he said.

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To strengthen the mechanism, Mr. Yakubu said, INEC has developed a web-based application, the Political Party Financial Reporting and Audit System (PFRAS), for political parties to submit their expenditures for verification.

“We will implement it soon and train both our staff and political parties on its use,” he said.

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Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in association with Report for the World, which connects local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on hidden issues around the world.

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