COMPUTING

Nigeria’s House of Representatives Shelves Electronic Voting

The House of Representatives said Nigeria cannot afford to adopt the electronic voting system now because of the high level of illiteracy amongst the electorate, the challenge of epileptic power as well as the huge cost implications inherent in the project. The House urged INEC to discard the use of ad-hoc staff in future elections as well as to employ not less than 3,000 graduates to man its polling units

Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Musa Adar, disclosed this at the weekly media interaction with the parliamentary press corps. Adar, who acknowledged that the electronic voting system could enhance transparency in the country's electoral system, however, said the idea should be deferred till the next ten years when a reasonable percentage of the voting population would have acquired basic education and computer knowledge.

Adar said that rather than jumping into electronic voting system, INEC should discard the use of ad-hoc staff in future elections and employ not less than 3,000 graduates to ensure that every polling unit was fully manned by competent and dedicated staff of the electoral body.

According to Adar, adopting electronic voting system cannot be a priority for Nigeria now as even some advanced democracies were still conducting their election using the manual voting system.

"Let us be honest to ourselves. We are not yet literate enough for electronic voting. You cannot expect to take it (voting machine) to my village where all the graduates are not more than 10 and expect it to be used for election.

"Our committee believes that it is going to gulp too much money at this material time when we need constant power supply, abundant food production and good healthcare delivery. We believe that the issue of electronic voting should be differed until other time when we have solved these problems in the next five or 10 years," he said.

Adar advised that before Nigeria could adopt the electronic voting system, the Independent National Electoral Commission must also build the capacity of its personnel in information technology for a number of years and conduct pilot schemes to ascertain the level of success in the proposed system.

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