By Muideen Olaniyi
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says technology has come to stay because of its immense benefits despite the incidence of election-meddling through the deployment of counter-technology.
Prof. Yakubu said this at the opening of a three-day international conference of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in West and Southern African countries in Abuja themed ‘Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology: Experiences from West and Southern Africa’.
He said the deployment of technology had helped citizens to organise, mobilise and protect their mandates using various social media platforms to track result transmission and undertake Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).
“While it is true that all countries participating in this conference have deployed technology in one form or the other to improve on the electoral process, the outcome varies from one country to another.
“However, with this coming together of election managers and experts to share experiences, we shall be better prepared in making the choice of the appropriate and cost effective technology that increase public confidence in the electoral process.
“This will also help us further protect the sanctity and integrity of the ballot,” he said. The INEC boss, who is also the President, ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), said African countries needed to explore the advantages and challenges of technology in elections.
He said, “Already, election management bodies in our sub-regions and beyond have deployed technology in one way or the other to improve on the processes, administration and outcome of elections.
“These include training and capacity building for electoral officials, promotion of inclusivity in the electoral process like youths, women, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons; biometric registration of voters, delineation of electoral constituencies and geo-referencing of existing as well as the creation of new polling units.
“Others include the establishment of robust electronic databases, accreditation of voters during elections, actual voting and the speedy and more accurate collation and transmission of results.”