It is no longer news that Nigerians have a huge distrust in the country’s electoral process. The former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega in a statement before the 2015 general elections, listed insecurity, funding, apathetic and inactive citizenry among others as a few of the many challenges the election process in Nigeria faces. However, the citizens cannot be blamed. The inability of the country to run a transparent, free and fair election has made many Nigerians indifferent and inactive. During the 2015 general elections, INEC, in an attempt to run a transparent election introduced the use of digital card readers and electronic fingerprint readers. But that was only possible because the Section 52 of the electoral act of 2010, which had prohibited the use of technology in voting was reformed in 2015. INEC chose the electronic readers as its first step in the introduction of technology into the voting process. Although that was advantageous to the election process, it had many flaws, which eventually led to the extension of the election dates.
Last year, the members of the House of Representatives tested the waters when they used electronic voting (e-voting) to confirm the nomination of two judges of the court of appeal as Supreme Court judges. This raised optimism in Nigerians as e-voting seemed like a step in the right direction. It is worth mentioning that the result from this nomination was inconclusive. If e-voting could not work in the confined space of the National Assembly, why do we think it would work in the whole nation? Many African countries have tried adopting one method of e-voting or the other and most have failed dramatically.
Although, no country in the world has gotten its electoral process right; even developed countries like the USA have had flaws in these processes, they have been able to adopt the use of various voting methods (manual and digital) to ensure transparency in their elections.
On Monday, Nigeria’s first electronic voting machine was unveiled. This machine is reportedly powered by solar energy and enables cloud-based collation of results. However, before the Nigerian government begins to divert public funds on electronic voting experiments, they need to consider the merits and demerits of this innovation. According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), the e-voting machine comes with features that ensure the prevention of ballot box snatching, multiple thumb printing, card reader failure and the alteration of data.
Full Article: Is e-voting in Nigeria the way to go?.