The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday started the virtual demonstration and screening for the use of electronic voting and the collation of results with over 40 ICT firms participating.
By Kunle Sanni
The demonstration was held at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
The INEC chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, said the practical demonstration will enable the commission evaluate the available technology already deployed by the electoral body.
Mr Yakubu described the demonstration as another “decisive effort by the commission to deepen the country’s electoral integrity through the deployment of technology.”
He said, “over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters in the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.”
The commission had deployed the use of technology in the Edo governorship elections as a means of improving the electoral system.
These included a dedicated online portal and INEC Result Viewing (IRV), to enable Nigerians view results from polling units in real-time on election days, as well as the use of the Z-pad.
“Today, the commission is taking yet another decisive step towards the full automation of the electoral process. For some time now, the commission has been working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the current manual system which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver huge quantities of printed materials and a large number of ad hoc staff to administer the process.
“To this end, the commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines,” the official was quoted as saying in a statement.
He said over 40 companies that indicated interest demonstrated to the commission how their IT solutions meet specifications.
“I wish to emphasise that this is only a demonstration that will enable the Commission to evaluate the available technology and where necessary finetune our specifications before proceeding to the next stage which will involve the participation of stakeholders. Details of the next steps will be given at the end of the demonstrations.”