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NSE implores INEC to geo-tag ballot boxes for credible election results

By Collins Olayinka and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
06 March 2023   |   3:24 am
Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to geo-tag ballot boxes to prevent snatching and stuffing in future elections.

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Egbeda, Lagos on February 25, 2023, during Nigeria’s presidential and general election. (Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP)

• CSO charges electoral umpire to deliver creditably in future polls
Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to geo-tag ballot boxes to prevent snatching and stuffing in future elections.

It also implored the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to appoint an engineer as next INEC Chairman.

NSE president, Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, who made the calls in Abuja at the weekend, as part of the society’s activities to commemorate World Engineering Day (WED), submitted that conducting elections had gone scientific and sophisticated beyond the realm of political science.

He said: “Today’s elections are Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based. So, it is going to be difficult for social scientists or non-science professionals to function as head of INEC. Appointing social scientists as head of INEC is no longer in vogue. An engineer is an analytic mind that creatively solves problems. There are more than 40 fields of engineering and anyone in any of the fields will perform better as head of INEC.”

Speaking on this year’s theme of the global event which holds every March 4, ‘Engineering Innovations for a More Resilient World’, the NSE boss maintained that engineering profession had diversified fields that could competently deliver credible elections.

Gidari-Wudil continued: “Seventy per cent of operations of INEC are logistics, located within the industrial engineering field. Largely, elections are ICT and technology-based. So, how can a professor of political science or history deliver creditably in such a field?

“But if an engineer is appointed, he will bring his experience to bear on what is needed to deliver a credible election. I am sure that most of the commissioners of INEC are not engineers. So, when you are talking about logistics and tracing, an engineer knows the best thing to do in the circumstance, which will be to geotag every ballot box. This will solve the logistics challenge INEC is complaining about.”

At a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had said logistics challenge, technology and behaviour of some personnel at different levels aided the “extreme challenging environment” witnessed during last weekend’s presidential and federal legislative polls.

The NITP helmsman hinted that the body was spearheading adaptation of curricula and teaching methods to ensure that engineering professionals and students are innovative and capable of developing new skills.

In a related development, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on Gender Equality, Leadership and Good Governance, has charged INEC to perform better during this weekend’s governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections and future polls.

Addressing journalists at the weekend in Abuja, the coalition’s national president, Amb. Elizabeth Oziri, warned that the February 25 scenario must not repeat itself.

Executive Chairperson of African Youth Union Commission, Ojineme Enakeme; Rescue Amnesty International Head, Shulamite Nwaoze and Michelle Peter of Nigeria Female Youth Organisation (NFYO) and Deborah Usman of Women and Child Disaster Rescue Initiative were in attendance.

Oziri, who doubles as Executive Chairperson, Women and Child Disaster Rescue Initiative, noted: “We want to say that the electoral process was a bit okay in some of the states.

“But then, some of the domestic and international observers noticed that in some polling units, things did not go well.

“We have also noticed that some of these international observers clearly came out and said the process did not meet international standards. But we are hoping that with time, we will get to where we desire to be.

“We hope that it would be better when next we try. Today, a return ticket has been given to one of the presidential candidates.”

She encouraged Nigerians, especially the youths, to embrace peace, “because Nigeria is the only country we have.”

She went on: “We ask that those who feel cheated, especially the presidential candidates, should go to court. We have faith in our judicial system. We hope that the court will give justice.

“The main reason why we are here is to encourage peace, especially political parties, youths and voters to calm down. If we fight, we might not achieve anything. But if we are at peace, there is nothing that cannot be resolved. So, please, let us maintain peace and tranquility. And I know that with time, everything will fall in places.”