Monday, April 06, 2009

NCS partners INEC on electronic voting

PIQUED by the constant disputes that trail the outcome of elections and the need to evolve new ways of addressing these problems, the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) and the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), recently held a retreat in Asaba to brainstorm on maximizing the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in future elections.

Addressing a joint press briefing on the communiqué of the retreat, the President, NCS, Prof Charles Uwadia, said the essence of every election is for good governance and that the heart of democracy is election.

Prof. Uwadia said the NCS is collaborating with INEC to ease some of the challenges that faces the commission, just as he called on all Nigerians at home and the diaspora to impress upon the National Assembly on the need to deploy full use of ICT in the entire gamut of electioneering.

He said the NCS will avail INEC the best available to assist it in future elections, promising that if implemented it will step up electoral processes in the country.

Also speaking, the chairman of INEC, Prof Maurice Iwu said the partnership with NCS was geared towards harnessing the ideas in ICT to be able to apply them to electoral processes in a such a manner that election outcome in the future will be more accepted by all.

“Right now we have done a lot, in the deployment of ICT, but we are still going for the ultimate aspect which is electronic voting and these are the substantial areas we are embracing the NCS to make input into what we are doing,” he said.

Prof Iwu, who was represented by the Director, ICT, INEC, Emmanuel Akem said the partnership is one that will be sustained in the future until such a time that election result will be more accepted by all in the nation.

The retreat which was also attended by representatives of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) representatives of Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), identified mass thumb printing of ballot papers, ballot stuffing, snatching of ballot boxes impersonation of voters, errors due to manual collation of results and multiple registration as some challenges that can be surmounted with the adoption of e-voting.

Having recognized the electronic voting provides the best available option, the recommended the promotion of e-voting through consensus building by involving all stakeholders and sensitizing the public on the need for its adoption in future elections.

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