The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pioneered electronic card readers during the 2015 general elections. Whether the tools guaranteed credible, free and fair elections is a subject for another time.
Perhaps, should Nigerians expect INEC to deploy full e-voting apparatuses for the 2019 elections?
Well, at least, the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited, has demonstrated that e-voting is possible in Nigeria. Though, it could be argued that this feat was achieved among a ‘small’ group- co-operative society under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but Nigeria has the core-competencies to duplicate the solution; if we want.
After all, the Senate has amended the Electoral Act of 2010 to legalise the use of smart card readers for the authentication of accredited voters as was done in the 2015 general election.
The amendment to the Act is expected to pave the way for electronic voting in future elections.
The Senate also empowered the presiding officer at polling units to, in addition to the smart card reader, use any other technological device that may be prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from time to time for the accreditation of voters to verify, confirm or authenticate the genuineness or otherwise of voters’ card.
The passage of the Bill for an Act to Amend the Electoral Act 2010 and for other related matters followed the consideration and adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on INEC in April 2017.
So, NigComSat is blazing the trail; it recently provided an e-voting platform and managed the elections for various official positions of the Multipurpose Co-operative Society of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Both retired and serving staff of the organization were present at the event. Some members of the Co-operative that were interviewed after the exercise, commended the process and called on public and private organizations all over Nigeria, as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to key in to the NigComSat electronic voting solution.
According to them, the process was seamless, transparent, credible and user friendly.
Electronic voting was proposed to the Co-operative society by NigComSat a few years ago.
This year’s election marks the second time that the Co-operative society is utilizing the e-voting solution to vote in its officials.
The e-voting solution and platform were developed and successfully deployed by the Innovation & Development department of NigComSat.