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Zinox boss sees eVoting prospects in Nigeria

By Adeyemi Adepetun
01 June 2016   |   3:12 am
He made the call at a retreat organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Parties Matter held in Abuja, at the weekend.
Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh

Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh

As the country marks the 17th anniversary of its transition to democracy, Chairman of Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh has declared that the time is ripe for Nigeria to deepen its democratic culture through the full deployment of electronic voting during elections.

He made the call at a retreat organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral and Political Parties Matter held in Abuja, at the weekend.

In attendance at the retreat was the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, Senator Abubakar Kyari who was represented by Senator Abu Gumel; Chairperson of the House Committee on Electoral and Political Parties Matter, Mrs. Aisha Dukku as well as other distinguished members of the committee.

Ekeh, who featured as the keynote speaker at the retreat, disclosed that with the rapid pace of global technological advancements, Nigeria stands to reap a lot of benefits from the deployment of e-voting, stressing that the initiative will go a long way in reducing litigations and strengthening the faith of Nigerians in the electoral process.

While delivering a paper titled: ‘New thoughts, ideas and innovations on use of ICT in elections”, Ekeh affirmed that the gains recorded with the use of the card readers in the 2015 general elections goes a long way to show that with the adoption of e-voting, the country will take a huge leap towards sound democratic governance.

“In your life, there must be a little bit of disruption for you to move forward. The country is ripe for transition to electronic voting. A lot of us are in this business because technology does not lie – it’s either you are right or you are wrong. With the use of the card readers in the last general elections, we saw a significant reduction in electoral fraud and other electoral malpractices. However, a few challenges were also encountered as no technology can be said to be 100 per cent perfect.

“A country cannot move forward where the elected leaders who take decisions are not the choice of the people. It’s like running a company and you are a shareholder in that company. If your son is not qualified to lead, you will be destroying that company by manipulating the system to favour that son. So, this was the essence of our submission to INEC on the adoption of electronic voting – that things should be done professionally with your support and that of the entire nation.

“Today, there are about 774 local governments in the country and each one with about 10, 800 polling units, some of which are in the riverine areas. Even if INEC purchases 1000 vehicles, it will still find it difficult logistics-wise to cover all the areas and this leaves the process open to manipulation by emergency contractors as INEC lacks the requisite man-power.