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NigeriaDecides2023

Politicians, stakeholders urge tech adoption in electoral process, governance

Politicians and ICT stakeholders have called for massive adoption of technology in the electoral process and governance in Nigeria.

Experts who made this call at the eGovernment Summit in Lagos pointed to the upcoming 2023 general election, urging the government to ensure the full adoption of technology for a successful outcome.

Babatunde Ogala, former APC legal adviser speaking on how technology will change the electoral process in Nigeria said,” At the point of voting, it helps in accountability, information, and transparency. Gone are the days when you put 50 votes and add double zeros to become 5000. Today with your phone and the devices, as you vote, you can snap and record and that is one of the impacts.”

He also explained that the adoption of technology in elections will help to boost digital literacy in the country, pointing out the fact that anybody that wants to participate in elections must be a working cybercafe. According to him, “gone are the days of illiterates. To be an agent in any election today, you are a working cybercafe already with your own modem, power banks, and phones for information dissemination and accountability.”

“The BVAS that we are having today, the card readers and transmissions are now creations and of course, we must deploy these technologies in the electoral process. For any political party that is still thinking we will do this election the way we did it in 2003, I think it’s not prepared for this election. Any party that does not have a situation room today, is not in the business of this election. In some situation rooms, we are having about 500 computer, desktops and personnel working under 24 hours”

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Also speaking on the need to implement technology in governance, Ogala said, “For any meaningful development to take place in Nigeria, and for the citizens to enjoy the dividend of democracy, the leaders must be tech-savvy. The adoption of digital technology will not only speed up electoral processes but will also create efficiency, transparency, and accountability in governance. It will also improve the security of our electoral processes.”

Hakeem Dickson, Lagos state governorship candidate for Accord Party also elaborated on the need to fully adopt technology in both election and governance.

” Everything about the election should be fully tech. I don’t know why we will still use paper. To me, it is half done,” Dickson said.

He also noted the need to leverage technology for human development. He stated that “We can’t even assemble a whole computer system. Even to develop our local gun without importation.”

Meanwhile, Dickson said he will transform Lagos in a six-month interval using technology if elected.

“Leaders who are technology savvy will use technology to generate funds for the government without overtaxing the citizens and also use technology to boost development, enhance governance and develop the human capacity building,” he added.

However, the speakers recommend collaboration, grants, focused on underserved areas, and directional subsidies from the government to the telecom sector to enable Nigeria to achieve eGovernment.

Also, Muhammad Nami, executive chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) represented by Kola Okunola, director, Intelligence, Strategic Data Mining and Analysis at FIRS, said FIRS remains committed to eGovernance which has been demonstrated in various ways like the automation of tax administration, and the collection of data from various government agencies, e-payment processing, and e-receipt issuance.

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