As Nigerians prepare to participate in the country’s presidential elections this Saturday, the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has been advised not to rely entirely on technology for the conduct of the election because doing so could result in failure.
According to the former president of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) Dr. Chris Nwannenna, because the technology worked elsewhere does not necessarily mean it would work in Nigeria.
Noting that Ghana used similar technology in its last elections, the NCS head said Ghana has a voter population of 14 million and 23000 polling units in comparison with Nigeria’s voter population of over 73 million and 180 000 polling units.
INEC is also introducing a module for SMS which implies that results will be transmitted by SMS from Polling Units directly to the electoral body.
But the NCS former president noted that while errors with the card reader would be obvious, hacking the SIM cards in the card readers should be more worrisome to all concerned, adding that it will not be easy to know when SMS messages fail to arrive at their destinations.
Nwanneenna, who is also the Managing Director, Condata Systems Limited, argued that the system was only partially successful in Ghana even though Ghana’s Electoral Commission had earlier trained the operators and had also conducted a two-day test of the system before live deployment.
He said: “fraud that took place regarding the biometric identification cards of unsuspecting voters in the Ghana example, which led to the challenge of the result of the election in court.
“Contrary to what (the) INEC would want us to believe, the voting model that is about to be replicated here is that of Kenya, not Ghana. Ghana’s model did not incorporate SMS module but Kenya’s own did. Kenyan voters were to identify themselves biometrically and to “ensure complete transparency, each returning officer would transmit the results, using handsets provided by the country’s biggest mobile phone network, directly to a giant screen at the tallying center in Nairobi.”