The Independent National Electoral Commission has flagged off the training of its 82 officials nationwide as Registration Area Technical Support.
The three days training which commenced today (Tuesday) will have the officials trained on new technology ahead of the 2023 general election.
In his remark at the Training of Masters Trainers on Election Technology for the 2023 General Election in Abuja, the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday, said the Commission was convinced that a critical success factor in the deployment of technology in elections was training, noting that there was need to build the capacity of staff involved, not only to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process, but also respond effectively to any glitches that might occur during elections.
Yakubu added that the 82 trained officials will train more officials at zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas. In turn, these officials will be involved in the training ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.
He explained, “Over the last two years, the Commission has increased the deployment of technology in the elections in Nigeria. Systems and portals have been designed and developed to cater for different electoral activities ranging from voter registration and accreditation, result transmission from the polling units, the nomination of candidates by political parties to the accreditation of polling agents, observers and journalists for elections. Of these innovations, most Nigerians are more familiar with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System which doubles as a device for accreditation as well as the upload of the Polling Unit level result sheets to the INEC Result Viewing portal in real-time on election day. These innovations have increased transparency and public confidence in the electoral process. They are also part of the legal requirements for conducting elections in Nigeria. The combination of the BVAS and the IReV portal has come to stay as a means of voter accreditation and transmission of election results.
“From the experience of recent off-cycle elections, the Commission is convinced that a critical success factor in the deployment of technology in elections is training. We need to build the capacity of the staff involved not only to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process but also respond effectively to any glitches that may occur during elections. Our plan for the 2023 General Election is to commence the training of election officials early and for a longer period of time for optimal understanding of the processes and procedures in order to serve Nigerians better. A key component of this effort is election technology.
“Today, we begin the process with the training of master trainers to serve as Registration Area Technical Support. A total of 82 officials drawn from our offices nationwide will form the nucleus of the training. Over the next three days, they will receive intensive hands-on training on the new technology. Thereafter, they will train more officials at zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas. In turn, these officials will be involved in the training ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.”
The INEC Chair, therefore, urged the trained staff to take the training seriously as their roles as master trainers is critical to the success of credible election.
Yakubu stated, “I urge the 82 staff involved to pay special attention to the training that you will receive at this Workshop. Your role as master trainers is critical to the success of training at subsequent levels and ultimately the successful deployment of the devices during elections. For this reason, the Commission will not accept laxity on your part. Much as we have confidence in your ability to understand and discharge your responsibilities to the officials you will subsequently train, there will be consequences for unethical behaviour or any act of misconduct. I wish you a successful training.”
In his goodwill message, the Country Director, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Seray Jah, acknowledged that the training is significant as it presents a huge opportunity for the Commission to enhance the transparency and credibility of elections through the deployment of technology on a large scale for the conduct of the 2023 general election, using the Electoral Act 2022.
Jah said “This training is significant as it presents a huge opportunity for the Commission to enhance the transparency and credibility of elections through the deployment of technology on a large scale for the conduct of the 2023 general election, using the Electoral Act 2022.
“The training will help the Commission to generate a pool of master trainers that will support the cascade training of over 10,000 technical support staff across the 36 states and the FCT, for the 2023 general election. The skills gathered here by the master trainers who have been carefully selected by the Commission would be useful in training the Registration Area Technical Support Staff who will be deployed during the elections to troubleshoot issues arising from technological devices deployed during the 2023 general election.
“Therefore, I want to use this opportunity once again to restate IFES’ commitment to continue partnering with INEC and its members in building a sustainable democracy in Nigeria, INEC can count on our readiness to continually partner with the commission in achieving its mission of serving as an independent and effective Election Management Body committed to conducting free, fair, and credible elections for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.”