2019 elections: Can we have electronic transmission and collation of results?

Nigeria is on the verge of another round of elections.

In less than six months, citizens of Africa’s largest democracy will troop to the polls to elect new state and federal representatives for both executive and legislative positions.

Many have long campaigned for the deployment of technology to make the electoral process smooth and hassle-free.

The magic of the card reader in 2015 is still being talked about.

What of the possibility of having electronic transmission and collation of results in 2019?

Is this feasible?

This was the dominant question when Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) met to review the outcome of the report of the joint committee.

Prof. Umar Danbatta , Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, after the meeting with the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, described the forum  “as a huge step toward entrenching free, fair and credible elections in the country’’.

He said the joint committee set up seven months ago by the two agencies had worked hard to produce a document on the basis of which elections could be conducted in a manner conducive, credible and transparent.

“This can only be done by leveraging the power of Information Communications Technology.

“ So this is to bring to bear global best practices in the way and manner elections are being conducted all over the world,” he said.

On his part, the INEC chairman expressed delight with the way NCC picked up the gauntlet thrown by the INEC and the joint committee.

“When we started we were clear in our minds that we must challenge every national institution to contribute towards free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

“We are happy that the NCC has risen to this challenge and we look forward to implementing these recommendations.

“If there are other areas we need your collaborations we hope you will remain open to us to do so.

“But we are very happy that one major national institution has been challenged and has risen to the challenge,” he said.

In January, NCC and INEC, in a deal acclaimed to “have the potential of playing a major role in the outcome of future elections in the country reached an agreement on the electronic transmission of results in the 2019 general elections’’.

The meeting had in attendance Ubale Maska , Executive Commissioner Technical Services (EC-TS) of NCC, , national commissioners of INEC and senior managers of the two agencies.