INEC inaugurates 20-member Inter-Agency Committee on E-Voting

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has inaugurated a 20-member Inter-Agency Technical Committee to evaluate requirements for the successful deployment of indigenously developed e-voting solution offered by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

The agency had in June 2017, paid a courtesy visit to the Commission led by the Honorable Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, for a demonstration of a proto-type e-voting machine developed by NASENI.

The INEC Chairman represented by National Commissioner, Okechukwu Ibeanu, while inaugurating the Committee which comprises of members from INEC, NASENI and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja, said it was out of that gratitude and excitement that the Commission proposed the setting up of the Technical Committee.

He reiterated the Commission’s commitment towards increasing the application of technology in the electoral process and expressed the gratitude that NASENI had gone that far in developing a machine that was not only going to help the process, but more importantly indigenously developed.

The INEC Chairman noted that “there is no gainsaying the importance of electronic application of technology to the electoral process, particularly to the voting process. It not only increases the
confidence of the electorate in the outcome, but also in many ways facilitates the work of the Commission.”

He pointed out that “part of the challenges the Commission has had over the years is the undue delay in votes casting, collation and result declaration. As such, every means of cutting down the
turnaround time in that process is highly appreciated.”

Professor Yakubu urged the committee to diligently carry out the assignment and assured them of the full support of the Commission. He said “the commission looks forward to the outcome of the work of this technical committee with excitement. The commission is hundred percent
committed to improving on this.”

Responding on behalf of the Committee, Engineer Abbas Gummi assured INEC that the Committee would live up to the expectations of the confidence reposed on it and would deliver a very good report.

The Committee terms of reference include, to  determine the e-voting needs of INEC and present a compilation of requirements for the Commission successful deployment of a suitable e-voting solution; evaluate the e-voting solution offered by NASENI in the light of the needs of INEC; assess the operational, technical and social issues associated with an e-voting system in Nigeria in the light of the NASENI solution; and consider the implications of extant electoral legal framework in Nigeria for the introduction of –voting generally, and particularly the NASENI solution.

Others are to: Evaluate the sustainability of the NASENI e-voting solution in the light of other available solutions; consider any other issue relevant to INEC’s choice and deployment of an e-voting solution and submit a comprehensive report for consideration by NASENI and INEC. INEC Director of ICT, Engineer Chidi Nwafor will serve as Chairman of the Committee.

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