Elections are sensitive and decisive moments. The Nigerian general election is a time when the citizens of the most populous black nation in the world will choose their leaders from the lowest levels up to the presidential ranks.
The Nigerian electoral process starts with voter registration. Citizens that are over 18 can register to vote in the elections. In previous years, this registration was done physically, which resulted in long queues and frustrated citizens.
In recent times, there has been little improvement as citizens can now upload their details on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official webpage and even book an appointment where all they need to do is be captured and verified as voters.
This takes a lot of time out of the former registration process. After the registration, some candidates are declared ineligible to vote due to invalid registrations.
INEC has announced a few technologies that will play a vital role in the elections. These are the Bimodal Voters’ Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
BVAS, as we know, will be a technology that will ensure that only accredited voters will cast their ballots during the election. By so doing, it will prevent any uncredited voters from casting their votes.
This technology is still not stable. It was used in the recently conducted Anambra state elections and had some hiccups, as the machine was reported to have malfunctioned in many polling units. Even with these technical errors, INEC is still confident that it will be in perfect condition for the general elections.
On the other hand, the IREV is meant to be used to show results to electorates as they are collected in real time from different polling.
The commission spoke on the technology through the chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, who stated that “To further strengthen the transparency in the election result management system, the commission has decided to introduce a dedicated public portal, IReV, that will enable Nigerians to view polling unit results in real-time as the voting ends on election day.”
This will help improve the level of transparency of the election process and will be tested in upcoming constituency elections to help improve its performance and tackle any errors before the general election.
With the technology available, will you say the next general election is tech-enabled and why?
These technologies are improvements from the smart card readers of the last general election, but with all these errors and uncertainty, they are already showing signs that they will not be effective and efficient.
The Nigerian elections have still not adopted the E-voting system and will still run on ballot casting, which has proven to be inefficient due to the numerous cases of ballot snatching and vandalism.
With all these decisions, it seems as if there is still a long way to go before Nigeria embraces the dynamic technologies available to conduct an election.
What technologies do you think will be the best to run a free and fair Nigerian election?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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