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Use of Technology: A Panacea to Credible Elections

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mallam Mahmood Yakub has said the use of technology is a panacea to credible elections.
Yakub noted that the introduction of electronic voting machines into Nigeria’s electoral process is another giant step in the Commission’s continuous effort to deepen electoral integrity in the country through the deployment of technology.
The INEC boss was speaking during a session of demonstrating electronic voting machines held at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu observed that over the years, the commission has been automating critical pillars of the process as the biometric register of voters has been updated continuously.
He said the process has made the INEC voters’ register the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voters’ cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and the Smart Card Reader (SCR) have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections. More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media. Most significantly, the Commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria”.
INEC chairman also said the Commission is taking yet another decisive step towards the full automation of the electoral process and for some time now, working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the current manual system which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver huge quantities of printed materials and a large number of ad hoc staff to administer the process.
According to him, the Commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine.
“After extensive discussion and review, the Commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines”.
He disclosed that over 40 companies that indicated interest will demonstrate to the Commission how their IT solutions meet  specifications.
“This is only a demonstration that will enable the Commission to evaluate the available technology and where necessary finetune its specifications before proceeding to the next stage which will involve the participation of stakeholders”.
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