To successfully broadcast the results of the 2023 elections, the nation’s telecommunications service providers have vowed to back the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, urging anyone who doubts their ability to do so to abandon their wager.
Barely a few weeks before the election, there have been worries over INEC’s plans to transmit results electronically, particularly in rural communities and areas with poor signals.
However, the operators, acting through their governing organisation, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators in Nigeria (ALTON), have calmed the situation and stated there is no need for concern.
Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, the association’s chairman, revealed in an exclusive interview with Hi-Tech that his members collaborated closely with INEC to secure the successful transmission of election results from crucial areas.
He said: ‘Yes, we have an understanding with INEC on the transmission of results. However, that is as far as carrying the signals. The content and its fidelity are for the INEC to determine. We know we have enough resources to transmit signals from every part of the country, irrespective of how remote. So, there is no reason to doubt the success of the exercise based on that. We have even done that with INEC and achieved perfect results.
Recall that the electoral umpire had assured Nigerians that its innovative solutions, including the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, and INEC Results Viewing, iRev, will be game changers during the 2023 general elections.
The INEC Chair, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said: “Well, we appreciate the concerns about how transmission will be done in blind spot areas, but we are proactive
“So, we are in touch with NCC, the regulator of the telecoms industry in Nigeria, and we have already identified the blind spots.
“We are going to meet with the NCC and the Chief Executives of the four major telecommunications companies to discuss this issue of access to connectivity further and find a way of dealing with the situation. We are working with the mobile network operators MTN, GLO, Airtel and 9mobile. We have identified the blind spots, and we have also found a solution to transmit from whichever part of the country.
“This is not the first time we are transmitting results from the polling units. We started this in 2020, and since then, we have conducted elections for 105 constituents and have transmitted from all parts of the country.
“We have transmitted from rural Bornu, Ondo, Ilaje, and even in Ijaw areas, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and we have had no issues in the transmission of these results”, he added.