The immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega has called for consolidation and expansion of the scope of the use of technology in future elections in the country.
Jega, who gave the advice on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address at the e-Nigeria 2015 Conference, organized by National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA in Abuja.
The former INEC boss stressed the need for a strong stakeholder alliance and consolidation as well as expansion of the scope of technology adoption in the Nigerian electoral process.
This he said would engender greater transparency and effectiveness in delivering free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in the country.
‘‘As the 2015 general elections clearly illustrate, Nigeria has come a long way in the improved effectiveness of its electoral processes. From an unwholesome situation of a series of poorly conducted elections, which created apathy and skepticism amongst the citizenry.
‘‘We are beginning to see the culmination of determined reform efforts into better managed elections, with renewed or revived hope amongst the citizenry that their votes are beginning to count in electing their leaders.
‘‘What remains to be seen is how better elections would translate into good democratic governance, but the prospects are bright. When votes count, politicians sit up and listen; and begin to take into account with seriousness the needs and aspirations of the voters. They ignore the voters at their own electoral peril.’’
‘‘The 2015 general elections point to the direction of enhancing the use of technology for greater effectiveness of the electoral processes. Use of technology is not without its challenges. Indeed, the challenges could be enormous. But they are not insurmountable, and they in no way diminish the need for improved and increased use of technology in our electoral system.
‘‘INEC has had to grapple with all these in past five years or so, as it deployed technology in the electoral process leading to the 2015 general elections. No doubt, in the years to come, as we strive to consolidate the discernable gains of the use of PVCs and Card Readers, in the Nigerian electoral processes, a lot of attention needs to be focused on addressing these challenges,’’ he added.
He however, cautioned that the issue of security of data and staff training should be taken more seriously to enhance the credibility of the system.
In his address, the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shitu described ICT as an indispensable tool in achieving a successful and credible electoral system in the country.
Given the high expectation of Nigerians for meaningful Change and development in the electoral system, the Minister charged participants at the conference to marshal out new plans that would strengthen the nation’s electoral system through the deployment of technology in line with the world best practices.