The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says use of electronic voting by Nigerians in the 2019 general elections but technology would drive other aspects of the process.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC dropped this hint at the end opening of a three-day International Conference of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) however says electronic facilities would be deployed in the collation and transmission of elections results.
“This brainstorming was to look at the adoption of technology in all the areas of electoral process and how to provide secure platform for the transmission of election results without hindrance”, the INEC boss told participants at the conference recently held in Abuja, the nation seat of power.
“We are to deploy technology within our various legal frameworks within the regions. Election is not just about technology, it is about the confidence of the people in the electoral process.”
The conference with theme“Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology: Experiences from West and Southern Africa” brought election managers and experts from West and Southern African countries to share experiences on effective electoral processes in the region.
Yakubu, who also doubles the President, ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions, (ECONEC), said with the efforts being made to improve the electoral process, elections were going beyond the capacity of the electoral commission to manipulate.
According to him “although there are some challenges associated with use of technology, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. The deployment of technology has empowered citizens now more than before; to organize, mobilize and protect their mandates through the use of various social media platforms.”
Francis Oke, the representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in her remarks advised that the deployment of technology in elections should be scrutinized.
“Elections are created by tension in Africa, this problem led to the formation of ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commission (ECONEC) to assist in information sharing by EMBs in the sub-region.”
Stating his view, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja, the Executive committee chairperson of South African Development Community(SADC) and the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia, noted that most electoral management bodies around the world use new technologies in the conduct of elections.