Electoral know-how as potential game-changer, By Olasupo Abideen

One of the E-voting machines on display

The 2023 common elections will witness loads of intricacies proper from the pre-election part to the election day and post-election interval, however one idea that will simply be the foremost gamechanger within the elections is the position know-how will play in figuring out the credibility and transparency of the method. The marked success within the deployment of technological improvements just like the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and Outcomes Viewing Portal is a large signal that the election administration course of is steadily enhancing. Additionally, the latest revelation of the Chairman of the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu that there have been a number of makes an attempt to hack its system through the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections is one other signal that the Fee appears to be armed to handle its electoral know-how.

For the time being, Nigerians are step by step bidding farewell to the darkish days when the voter’s register was infested with overseas names and people days when election outcomes have been introduced whereas voting was nonetheless ongoing. Recalling the darkish days of Nigeria’s electoral journey and the way the 22 improvements launched by the electoral administration physique, together with the IREV and BVAS, have enabled the nation transfer mild years away from its electoral debacle, can be worthy of point out. Latest revelations by Professor Mahmood Yakubu present that the Fee has performed 105 elections utilizing the IREV, whereas it has uploaded 32,985 (99.13%) out of a doable 33,275 outcomes, having recorded 100% add charge within the simply concluded Ekiti and Osun governorship elections. Other than voting, outcomes administration is well essentially the most vital facet of election administration. Whereas voting is an open and public exercise, outcomes administration is normally run by a couple of election officers, largely outdoors the glare of the general public. Thus, there may be want to advertise transparency on this in the very best means. Different improvements that appear to have enhanced the system embody biometric voters registration, computer-based registration of voters, on-line pre-registration, the Everlasting Voters’ Card (PVC) with chips, creating on-line portals for candidates, observers and political celebration brokers, amongst others, which have all gone a good distance in standardising Nigeria’s election administration system.

Whereas this stays work-in-progress in direction of attaining elections that attain world requirements of credibility and integrity, Nigerians should recognize INEC’s journey in direction of substantial deployment of electoral know-how. Proper from 2011, the electoral fee confirmed its dedication in enhancing the conduct of elections, whereas leveraging on know-how by way of the introduction of Good Card Readers. The introduction of the Good Card Reader (SCR) and its use in recording accreditation knowledge was essential in limiting malpractice and voting by proxy, but it wasn’t backed by regulation, because the handbook process remained what was legally recognised within the regulation. Regardless of this, the SMR performed an vital position in aiding the Presiding Officer to be “happy” that the Everlasting Voters Card being introduced was a authentic card for voting, and that the voter is definitely the particular person within the register, each of that are required by the regulation. That is the start of the technological trajectory of Nigeria’s election, whilst election stakeholders continued to push for an electoral modification that legalises deployment of know-how and digital transmission of election outcomes.

To date, the foremost turning level in Nigeria’s electoral course of was the breakthrough that got here with the brand new Electoral Act 2022, which empowered the Fee to undertake digital means for each accreditation and outcomes administration. Certainly, the persistence of the Fee on these points, significantly within the administration of outcomes, are actually well-expressed in extant authorized framework, administrative procedures and technological improvements launched in latest instances by the Fee. It’s nevertheless crucial to state that whereas election stakeholders revel over know-how, the improvements doesn’t solely jettison the handbook course of, slightly it serves as an efficient high quality assurance and standardisation gauge in electoral administration.

Nonetheless, its not but time for complacency because the 2023 elections which is taken into account one of many largest elections within the continent is upon us. The challenges forward can’t be underestimated in an effort to keep away from any window that may very well be harnessed by politicians to discredit the method. Nigeria’s voter register should be precisely audited to supply the genuine figures of registered voter, whereas a gentle replace of Everlasting Voters Card (PVCs) must be obtainable within the public house. Thus, earlier than elections, the info for PVCs collected can additional promote transparency and be used to find out the proportion of voter turnout. Additionally, there may be want to accentuate the coaching of adhoc workers to allow the efficient dealing with of technological units. This can avert conditions the place improper varieties and, in some instances, unstamped varieties have been uploaded on the IREV through the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, as 2023 beckons.

With barely 5 months to the crucial common elections, there isn’t a doubt that some components aren’t relenting in creating their very own stratagem to bypass and manipulate the method, because the latest electoral expertise exhibits that the fee appears to be one step forward for the very first time. Different election stakeholders, particularly the Nigerian safety businesses and civil society organisations have vital roles to play in defending the sanctity of the electoral course of earlier than, throughout and after the elections. This is not going to simply enhance residents confidence within the course of however can even enhance residents participation within the course of to hit at the least a 50% voter turnout mark.

Olasupo Abideen is an efficient governance, youth funding and public coverage fanatic. Abideen serves because the Kwara state coordinator of the NotTooYoungToRun motion and he’s the manager director, Mind Builders Youth Improvement Initiative. Please ship feedback and suggestions to [email protected] He tweets @opegoogle.

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