INEC, NASENI differ on use of electronic voting machine in 2019

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The use of electronic voting machine may not be feasible in the 2019 general elections. This followed the conflicting positions by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The agency’s Chief Information Officer, Olusegun Ayeoyenikan told The Guardian yesterday that there were plans to get the machine ready before the elections. But the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, said in a message to The Guardian that the possibility was dim.

According to Oyekanmi: “NASENI has not even notified INEC about its invention. Besides, the Electoral Act does not recognise electronic voting at the moment, so the question of using the machine does not arise,” he said.

The Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, had presented the electronic voting machine to the public in January, which was witnessed by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

The machine was developed through the Electronic Development Institute (ELDI), one of the agency’s research institutes in Awka, the Anambra State capital. The invention sparked the optimism that the country’s electronic voting machine would eliminate the challenges that similar machines had posed in the 2015 elections.

Speaking on the number of its locally invented products, Ayeoyenikan said the agency had over 40 inventions waiting to be commercialised. He stressed that the agency’s lack of fund had hindered its chances of commercialising the products, which are spread across power, transportation, agriculture, water resources and education.

“We need to believe in what we can do as a nation. No foreign country or agency would develop the country for us. The IMF and World Bank only contribute to products that were already in the markets and they won’t sponsor us to commercialise our inventions,” he said.

Ayeoyenikan said the solar powered electronic voting machine was the latest of its inventions. According to him, it has the capacity to collate election results with cloud-based computing.

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