Why Nigeria must embrace e-voting, by ex-minister

Former Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, has warned that violence during the election period may persist if the nation refuses to deploy electronic voting (e-voting).

He gave the submission yesterday at the 6th yearly international conference of the International Society of Comparative Education, Science and Technology (ISCEST) in Abuja.

Isoun, who served as minister from 2000 to 2007 under Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, said the country was capable of deploying technology throughout its electoral process if only political leaders could be a bit more committed.

While delivering a lecture on ‘Science, Technology and Innovation as the Driver of Development and Job Creation ‘, the Bayelsa State-born scholar noted that technology could not be a threat to the voting process; rather it would improve it.

He said: “It is our own democracy; we are not doing anybody a favour in trying to improve it, but ourselves. We are doing it for our strategic interest. We don’t need to kill or destroy ourselves.

“We have the technology to transmit result from the 119,000 polling stations direct to a data centre. What we are doing now does not have a future. The future is that democracy must evolve and electronic voting and digital transmission is the way to go.”

According to him, technology is not a threat to our electoral system, but an advantage to the system.

“This is because most of the problems are at the collation; that is from the voting point to collation, then to the announcement of results. If you get results from the voting station straight to the data centre, there would be no opportunity to tamper with it. Nigeria has the capability to do that. We have a responsibility to make that happen,” he added.

Isoun stressed the need for science and technology to be the driver of the nation’s development, saying that any country that failed to do go that way would not make progress.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, emphasised the need for youths to embrace entrepreneurship for economic and social development.

Represented by the deputy director, Technology and Science Education department in the ministry, Mr. Olu Osinaike, the minister decried the decreasing interest of youths in technical and vocational education and training.

“This is due to the preference for white-collar jobs against technical and vocational jobs. In addition to this, is the lack of sensitisation of the public on the importance of technical and vocational education,” Adamu stated.

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