Nigeria’s computer body urges revisit of e-voting

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) has once again advised Nigeria’s electoral umpires, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the government to heed its call and adopt electronic voting or e-voting for the postponed coming general elections.

This call is coming against the backdrop of complaints by a huge percentage of the voting population over inability to collect the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and fears that the card reader machines may not function in some polling units.

The body believes that if e-voting is adopted, will not only cut cost, it will enthrone transparency in the electoral process.

President, NCS, Prof. David Adewumi said there is no basis e-voting should not be adopted in the country after Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has used successfully deployed it for the conduct of its election twice.

 “Our position in the NCS remains the same. We are ripe for e-voting. When you look at e-voting, it is no longer rocket science. The major requirement is the infrastructure, I mean the information technology (IT) equipment, capacity building. Then INEC must provide the purposeful leadership that is required to deploy the technology and consequently, e-voting. I think that is all that is needed. There no space science to that,” he said during a short interview at departure lounge of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He dismissed insinuations that the level of computer literacy in the country was still low and that the personal computer ownership ratio to the population was still abysmally low.

“The old people in the villages now use mobile phones. So what is it about low level of computer literacy you are talking about? The key board for the mobile phone is smaller than that of the PC. I think what is required in this is determination to ensure it succeeds,” Prof Adewumi said.

Namibia became the first African country to adopt the e-voting technology with the Southern African country using it during its election last year

The e-Voting Machines, or EVMs, were acquired at a cost of 24 million Namibia dollars from an Indian company and according to the company, they are equipped with technology that is designed to eliminate flaws and address the scepticism of some political parties questioning the transparency of that country’s electoral umpire.

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