The Nigerian government has unveiled an electronic voting machine locally made by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and plans to adopt the technology for use in subsequent elections to curb rigging with other election malpractices.
By Oluwatobi Opusunju
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu who unveiled the technology as the 2019 election beckons said the machine would help to combat the challenges usually associated with the electioneering process in the country. Onu said the technology will eliminate delay in logistics, distribution of electoral materials, ballot box snatching and disparity in results collated at polling centers with those announced by the electoral body.
The electronic voting machine allows voting and collation to take place in real-time. The machine was developed through the Electronic Development Institute (ELDI); one of the agency’s research institutes in Awka, Anambra State. With this technology in place, eligible voters will be able to cast their votes from anywhere around the country without having to travel back to their wards.
INEC will also be able to monitor the entire voting process easily as each electronic voting machine could be equipped with a tracker and could be configured to shut down immediately after voting.
“Our courts are filled with petitions showing that the results at the polling units in some cases were not a true reflection of those at the collation centers due to human intervention. This technology would eliminate all of these so that we can have results in real time. Under the new order, the correct results would be displayed immediately after voting,” said Onu.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Muhammed Haruna explained that the e-voting machine which is in compliance with the INEC permanent voters’ card is capable of conducting up to five different elections in a day.
According to Haruna, “the machine is a transmission unit that does not hold data and could allow the presidential, gubernatorial and National Assembly election results to be released within some few minutes, which make theft and snatching of ballot boxes impossible.”