Friday Olokor, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission has introduced an application where every Nigerian can be election observers and report live from their polling units.
The app, according to INEC, would check vote buying and can be freely downloaded from the commission’s website or Google Play Store.
It also has geo-referencing features which can enable the electoral body’s officials to identify wherever challenges may arise.
Where challenges arise, security agencies would be alerted to take charge in any part of the country.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of The Electoral Institute, Mustapha Leeky, said the app was developed to address the new challenge of vote buying which characterised the recent governorship elections in some states.
Leeky disclosed these on Thursday while declaring open a three-day workshop on electoral security training in Abuja.
According to him, the workshop to train security personnel was inspired by the need to ensure the 2019 election is conducted in a hitch-free manner.
He said, “We have deployed something that most of you media men are paying little regards to; and that is the fact, as at today, if you go to INEC website or Google Play Store, you can download an INEC i-reporter which is something that INEC has spent a lot of money in developing.
“It allows every Nigerian to be an observer and a reporter of events as it happens. This, you can download freely, and have it on your smart phones. So, you can take pictures, you can also take a short video and send it to us.
“It is geo-reference, so we know exactly where that issue is taking place and we can easily draw the attention of police or other security agencies to make sure that the matter is actually addressed.”
The INEC commissioner said the commission had introduced a number of measures to ensure that vote buying does not interfere with the electoral process in 2019.
He said, “Our take on vote buying has been well articulated at various fora like this; we abhor it, we think it is uncalled for, you do not need to sell your vote and you do not need to buy votes.
“In INEC as an institution, we don’t buy votes and we don’t sell votes, we just count the votes.
“So we expect people to cast their votes freely, we have deployed a number of measures to ensure that vote buying does not interfere with our election.
“We have reconfigured the way our polling units and the ballot boxes are placed so that people cannot expose their votes, so that people can go and collect money afterwards.
“We have also banned the use of smart phones in the polling booth so that you don’t take a picture and show to anyone.”
Also speaking, the Acting Director of TEI, Umar Idris, corroborated the submission of Leeky, saying the training was meant to ensure adequate preparations for security personnel, especially on the need to stay neutral during the 2019 polls.”