Tuesday, June 12, 2018

ICT holds key to credible elections in Nigeria – Prof. Aderounmu

The President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Co-Centre Leader, World Bank-Designated Centre of Excellence in Software Engineering, Professor Adesola Aderounmu, has said that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) holds the future of credible elections in the country, reports ITRealms.

In a keynote at the 5th Covenant University Conference on e-Governance in Nigeria, recently, Prof. Aderounmu insisted that to guarantee the credibility of future election process, it must be ICT-driven process.

He also urged Nigerians to beginning to form the electoral culture of institutionalizing ICT in this area.
He lamented that elections in Nigeria hitherto have been that of violence and discord.

“Since the dawn of politics in post-colonial Nigeria, our elections have mostly been a tug of war, riddled with violence, rigging and all manners of complications,” he said.

Stressing that democratic experience has been progressively retrogressive, essentially because the electoral process has been consistently defective.

“Free and fair elections in our part of the world have been rare like an exotic treasure that you only find by luck. In short, ours has been a history of traumatic electoral misadventures that have been part of indices defining us as a third world country lagging behind the advanced democracies of the West,” he said.

Prof. Aderounmu noted the importance of highlighting the existence of a genuine need for ICT systems for development in sub-Sahara Africa.

“In particular, we have to distinguish elections as the best opportunity to encourage political leaders to promote innovation in the polity. So, using ICT to elect credible leaders could motivate successful and satisfied politicians to encourage emerging governments to adapt the innovations to mainstream development and governance.

“As the 2019 elections draw closer, there is no doubt that putting in place relevant ICT infrastructure now for the application of adaptable technology in our electoral processes will go a long way to ensure transparency and credibility of the elections.

“It is a welcome development that the leveraging of technology had started, even if rudimentary, with the last 2015 elections that ushered in the present administration in Nigeria.

“For instance, the application of technology for biometric registration of voters, the issuance of smart permanent voters card (PVCs) to voters and voter verification and authentication using the smart card reader, has helped the infiltration of ICT into the electoral process.

“So also was the idea to scan and upload all voting result sheets for all the elections on a database, which was made accessible to all stakeholders for some months after the 2015 elections.

“All these formative adaptations of technology with the 2015 elections are commendable, but there is still a long way to go with our future elections. Let us now go into specifics on how ICT can transform our future electoral processes and elections,” he said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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