NCS blames shoddy preparations for neglect of IT in election

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) has blamed tardiness in project management, and challenges in logistics and security, for neglect of ICT by the government and the electoral umpires.

President of the group, Prof. David Adewumi, who spoke in Lagos, also lamented that politicians have kept quiet on how they would develop the IT sector and build a digital economy.

The group therefore urged the Federal Government, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders to ensure adequate deployment of IT tools to ensure a free, fair and credible general elections.

The IT professional body regretted that in the 21st century, the distribution of permanent voters cards (PVC) in the country could still be marred by logistical challenges.

The President said: “The NCS is advocating improved and innovative utilisation of IT in the organisation of free, fair and credible elections this year and in future elections in Nigeria. While we acknowledge IT contributions and initiatives of INEC, the most recent being the introduction of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the electoral process, there is a need for improved project management in the deployment of IT as well as security management. Logistic issues and delays in PVC distribution being experienced are painfully not ideal in today’s 21st century. Further innovation of the electoral management process is therefore required with inputs from NCS and other stakeholders, most especially in the area of giving consideration to electronic voting for future elections in Nigeria."

According to Prof Adewumi, there is need to deploy IT to the process to position, sustain and deepen democracy in Nigeria.

“The 2015 elections are about the future of Nigeria. And the role of IT is critical to development and growth. Though there has been improvement, a lot still needs to be done. As the general election approaches, NCS challenges present and aspiring political leaders to prioritise IT sector productivity as well as improved impact and depth of IT development.

“But the NCS is concerned that those seeking votes are not addressing these critical matters. We urge the electorate to ask questions and raise issues at all the levels of government with all the political parties and their candidates about their plans for building an innovative economy to create jobs and address the nation’s developmental challenges.

“In particular, answers are needed about what they will do to strengthen important government agencies in IT, most especially National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN). Quite importantly what they intend to do about legislations that would foster the development of IT and IT enabled activities; growth of the IT profession and industry; professionalising the industry by having IT professionals as head of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs); and preferential usage of Nigerian professionals in IT projects,” he said, adding that NCS is ready and willing to partner with INEC and other stakeholders on these matters to make the country a shining example in the global space.

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