December 1, 2020

Hannah Job /TnTv Network

Why Nigeria Is Not Ripe For E-Voting – Expert

Contrary to numerous calls from diverse quarters for the introduction of electronic voting system in Nigeria’s electoral process, largely due to the unprecedented scale of violence and irregularities witnessed in the 2019 general elections, an expert in space and communication satellite technology has disclosed that Nigeria is yet unripe to deploy such technology for its electioneering due to low internet penetration and literacy level among a large portion of its populace.

The Executive Director, Marketing and Business Development of Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Samson Osagie, made the disclosure in an exclusive chat with our Correspondent in Abuja

Osagie is of the opinion that for Nigeria to deploy electronic voting technology for its elections, there is need to ensure the number of Nigerians that have access to internet is increased beyond what it is now.

“As it stands now, less than 30% of over 180 million Nigerians have access to internet. So that leaves us with a large uniformed populace in a fast changing world where information flies every second, and this information has the capacity to change the environment, the economy and people’s lives,” he said.

The space and communication expert revealed that though the NIGCOMSAT Company has the capacity to provide the required network service to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the event of the deployment of such technology, but he feared that millions of electorates would be disenfranchised due to low literacy level among the populace.

Osagie said, “How many people are tech-savvy? A number of Nigerians may not be able to carry out their voting duty using the electronic system because the illiteracy rate is still very high, and electioneering requires that everybody, both educated and uneducated, participate. So I fear that millions of people might be disenfranchised. Although, e-voting is key to ensuring a hitch-free election in Nigeria but we are not there yet. Otherwise, NIGCOMSAT have the coverage all over Nigeria by which we can network the entire country and bring them on a common platform which can be monitored from a single source.”

He added that, “the Nigerian spacecraft which is codenamed NIGCOMSAT 1R is designed as a special purpose vehicle to explore the abundant space resources available to actualize the ICT objective of the country. The Nigeria’s V. Sat which has coverage across the nation can provide internet service on a wireless basis and it is meant to ensure a faster internet penetration to large proportion of our populace.”

While urging government at all levels to invest more in technical education and information communication technology, the ICT expert said with the space technology available in Nigeria, the country can conveniently carry out tele-medicine, tele-education among other innovations.

“By tele-medicine for instance, a local hospital in a remote village in Nigeria can be able to communicate with a consultant in the city and it’s able to carry out medical operation. As for tele-education, you can have education using our V. Sat to have access to information for teaching and learning. We are currently partnering with stakeholders in education to drive e-learning in our tertiary institutions,” Osagie said.

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