2019: Concerns over scant details on INEC’s website
NEWS DIGEST–Details about the upcoming 2019 general elections are scanty on the official website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Daily Trust reports.
Findings revealed that, save for the countdown to the polls, vital information about the elections scheduled for February next year are yet to be published on the website of the electoral body.
For instance, the personal particulars of candidates for the presidential and National Assembly elections are yet to be uploaded on the website, a week after they were made public across the country.
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had at a press briefing urged the general public to use the opportunity of the publication of the forms and particulars of the candidates, as submitted by their respective political parties, to raise claims and objections.
But members of the public who opted for the official website of the commission to access the published particulars were disappointed as the information was yet to be uploaded due to what a source attributed to “bureaucracy.”
Daily Trust however observed that the 2015 list of presidential, National Assembly as well as governorship candidates were still accessible on the INEC official website: www.inecnigeria.org.
Also accessible on the website are the details of the 2014 Ekiti governorship election. But apart from news reports, detailed results of the 2017 Anambra governorship election and those of Kogi, Edo, Ondo, and Osun, which were conducted at different periods after 2015 were also not on the INEC website.
For instance, when a search was conducted on ‘Elections Results’ column on the website, only the result of the 2015 presidential election and the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State in which AyodeleFayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated the then governor, Kayode Fayemi were seen.
Though the website had the Voter Verification platform where registrants were required to check their registration status, statistical details of the number of registered voters as well as those who had collected their permanent voter cards across the states had not been reflected on the website.
At a recent press conference in Abuja, Professor Yakubu said the commission was considering the possibility of uploading candidates’ details on the website.
Making particular reference to the published particulars of presidential and National Assembly candidates, Yakubu, however, said it was difficult for the current capacity of the website to contain about 6,500 candidates, each attaching several pages of credentials.
INEC’s Director of Information Technology (ICT) could not be reached for comments but the spokesperson of the commission’s chairman, RotimiOyekanmi, said the commission was making arrangements to overhaul and improve its website.
‘INEC should wake up’
Stakeholders contacted for this story said the electoral body needs to get its acts together.
A former aspirant for state assembly seat, Muhammad Haruna said the electoral body should know that the world is now a global village. “People, wherever they are, want to have access to information at the touch of a button, as they used to say. And the 2019 elections are generating interest far beyond the shores of Nigeria because of the country’s strategic importance in terms of resources, population and so on, especially in Africa.”
He therefore called on INEC to wake up and “make its website not only comprehensive but one that is constantly updated.”
Also speaking on the development, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) urged the Federal Government to update its websites to meet modern day requirements.
The TMG Chairperson, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, told Daily Trust that it was important to update the websites.
Citing the INEC example,
she said, “Nigerians including myself have been visiting INEC website for this (on parties candidates for 2019 elections) information but it seem not yet uploaded. I advise a quick upload to enable clarity on who is in the race and who is not.”
Daily Trust reports that federal government ministries, departments and agencies budget billions of naira for websites but most of them remain inactive.