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Jul 10

2015: Is Nigeria ready for Electronic Voting?

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It is a fact, that technology has improved the way we live our lives. We have come to rely so much on technology in everything. But how can technology help us choose our leaders? How can ICT be employed in our voting process.

 Over the years, elections results in Nigeria have always been taken by a pinch of salt. Nigerians have always, always, faulted the electoral process. We have experienced high degrees of rigging, ballot box snatching, under-age voters, election and post-election violence. In fact, we have seen it all in Nigeria. Although the 2011 elections have been credited to be free and fair, it also experienced its own share of election malpractices.

 The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, also admitted that the 2011 elections were not perfect and that there was need for improvement. He hints that the next general election, come 2015, would be freer and fairer and that the vote of every Nigerian will count. How does he intend to achieve that? He says that come 2015, Nigerians should cast their votes electronically: A concept that has been termed as electronic voting machineElectronic Voting.

Electronic voting is a term that describes the use of electronic cards and electronic voting machines in voting for your preferred candidate during an election.

The electronic system of voting was invented to correct some anomalies and address some needs:

  1. the need to record information and to have the results available quickly (timeliness);
  2. the need to have a system that is accessible to all and easy to use(accessibility);
  3. the need to ensure secrecy of what takes place (secrecy)—except where open elections are called for;
  4. the need for voting to be undertaken seriously, after due deliberation (Deliberation);
  5. the ability to ensure that each individual’s vote is recorded and counted accurately (accuracy);
  6. the need to guard against manipulation and interference with information once recorded (security);
  7. the need to ensure that individuals cannot be impersonated (authentication); and
  8. The need to verify what has taken place through the use of traceable information trails (verifiability).

All of these needs can be addressed with the introduction of electronic voting.

 Now  the big question: How does Nigeria intend to implement this voting system?

Prof. Jega says, “There will be production of a permanent voter register, which would be embedded in electronic chips on cards. Each card would carry all the information about the voter, his or her biometric data, including finger prints and photograph”. He added, “…by 2015, at the minimum, we are going to have an authentic verification of anybody who presents himself or herself at the polling unit for voting. We will have card readers and it will automatically verify whether you are the genuine owner of the card. The chip-based card can be made compatible with an electronic voting system.

As wonderful and fantastic as this system of voting may seem, do you think Nigeria and Nigerians are ripe for it? Can it be implemented by 2015? What limiting factors can you identifiy?

Share your opinion!

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About the author

Njumoke Abiola-Oseni

Njumoke Abiola-Oseni is the Executive Director, Training and Business Intelligence at Trisat Communications Ltd. She holds a Bachelors Degree(B.Tech) in Computer Engineering with ICT Certifications such as Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Project Management, MikroTik Certified Network Associate (MTCNA), and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). She currently administers all Trisat training engagements and consults for SMBs on Business Intelligence such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS), Messaging Systems and Call Center Solutions and Customised Software Application. Njumoke Abiola-Oseni is a Co-Founder of Trisat Communications Ltd.