Endorsing Tools of Validation: ICT and 2015 Election

Nigeria’s 2015 general election is now only weeks away and the election umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has assured Nigerians in particular and the world in general of a credible election, on the strength of modern technological devices which have been deployed towards authenticating and ensuring that every valid vote counts.
Indeed, it has become apparent that accuracy and validation of the voting process cannot be achieved without the application Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools.
ICT can be described as enabling key functions of democracy, including how they help people to access and share relevant news and information, organise and coordinate activity; generate and utilize data bearing in mind that there are currently 135 million active telecom subscribers as at December 31, 2014 as reported by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Nigeria and nearly 50 per cent of that figure linked to internet subscription.
In achieving the desired success in 2015, experts in Information and Communications Technology have strongly recommended to the government the use of e-voting machines during the election among other tools that will help curb malpractices in election.
However, in the run-up to the polls, INEC intends to fulfil the promises with the use of the Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) and card reader. INEC has introduced card readers to checkmate the activities of those who may wish to hijack the PVCs by financial inducement to gullible electorate.
INEC’s has maintained that card readers are another major innovation in 2015 in its work for the election to ensure that “every vote would count, every vote would be counted, and every vote would be taken into account.”
Pundits are also quick to ask why PVCs are still stolen. Why are politicians, the supposed beneficiaries of the thefts, investing in unprofitable ventures and acquiring PVCs meant for others, thus questioning INEC credibility of the PVC and card reader as the electronic architecture for free and fair election.
Cynicism is high because the system has not been used. These pieces of ICT devices are to be operated by human beings and no matter how perfect they are, human beings will operate them. What is INEC plan, suppose the technology fails during the election? INEC is said to be notorious for attributing its lapses to endless experiments on improving the electoral processes. The new system would indeed be the game changer in the 2015 elections only if it works.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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