• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Nigeria nears e-voting as INEC mulls full automation elections

INEC moves to expand voter access to polling units

Nigeria is moving closer to electronic voting which is adjudged to be a lasting solution to the challenges of electoral malpractices such as rigging and falsification of results that characterised all elections since the return to civil rule in 1999.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Monday took decisive step towards the full automation of the electoral process with the demonstration of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu while speaking at the demonstration of the EVMs in Abuja said the Commission has been working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the current manual system which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver huge quantities of printed materials and a large number of ad hoc staff to administer the process.

Yakubu said to do away with the manual process, INEC developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine and after extensive discussion and review, the Commission invited original manufacturers of EVMs around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.

According to him, “Over 40 companies that indicated interest will demonstrate to the Commission how their IT solutions meet our specifications. I wish to emphasise that this is only a demonstration that will enable the Commission to evaluate the available technology and where necessary fine tune our specifications before proceeding to the next stage which will involve the participation of stakeholders.

Details of the next steps will be given at the end of the demonstrations.

“The Commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the Commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of EVMs in elections in earnest”.

The INEC Chairman stated that over the years the Commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process such as continuous updating of biometric register of voters and use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) which have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.

Yakubu said: “More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.

“Most significantly, the Commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria”.