Ministry of Science and Technology takes a quantum leap towards having a transparent and robust electoral process/system that will ensure a non-violent 2015 polls, by organizing a two-day conference on Technology and Electoral Process for its staff and officials of the Seventeen Agencies under its supervision with the view, to equipping them with the requisite skills in the application of technology-based solutions in the conduct of credible elections.
Speaking at the two day capacity development conference supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the theme: “Enhancing the use of Technology during the 2015 electoral process” in Abuja, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama stated that, globally, ” innovative Technology with peculiar local content have been deployed to ensure hitch-free electoral processes.”
According to him, it was against this background of the pivotal relevance of the use of its technology in electioneering exercise that the ministry secured the support of UNDP to execute a project with focus on sensitizing Nigerians especially the youth.
Dr. Bulama said the key objectives of the project were among other things to expose staff of the Ministry of Science and Technology to global best practices in electioneering processes; to capacitate the ministry to be able to identify short, medium and long term plans to ensure the adoption of technology use in election and draw up a plan to implement the relevant project and to provide an opportunity for the ministry to extend technology training to youth of voting age across Nigeria.
The Minister maintained that “the use of election technology to ensure integrity and/or enhance transparency in the electoral process can be tremendously effective”.
He stressed that in recent times, election administrators have long utilized technology to help address some of their most pressing challenges, including voter registration and candidate nomination to voter identification and results transmission.
The Minister further revealed that the Present Administration in its renewed efforts to forestall controversy like the one that trailed the 2007 and 2011 elections, has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a huge task of adoption on improved method to ensure a free and fair election in February, 2015.
The Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) and Electronic Voter Identification (EVID) according to Dr. Bulama are the major pieces of election technology utilized by INEC for the purpose of engendering transparency in the whole process.
In another development, the Minister said the social media platforms such as Face book, Twitter, Black Berry Messenger (BBM), Whatsapp, Linkedin Instagram are veritable means of technology that can be deployed in enhancing the electoral process especially as it concerns ensuring quick transmission of results.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita said “In developed nations of the world the use of technology in electoral process has been accorded high priority which has led to conduct of peaceful elections, transparency and wider participation of their citizenry”.
She stated further that the ministry is well positioned to leverage on its mandate and this global trend to employ innovative technologies that support the electoral process during this year’s general elections and beyond. Against this background, she urged the participants to accord the training all the seriousness its deserves.
Key stakeholders at the conference called on the Ministry of Science and Technology to take the lead in the sensitization of the voting populace on the use of technology to drive the electoral process. They equally believed that technology has the capacity to stop electoral fraud; it simplifies the task and removes stress and anxiety that are capable to trigger violence.
Deputy Director (Press)