13 December 2012

Nigeria: NSE Demonstrates Possibility of Online Real-Time Voting

The Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) has successfully demonstrated that Nigeria could hold its general elections online real-time, just as it was done at the recent US election.

The engineers at the weekend successfully conducted its yearly general elections online real-time through an e-voting system that was developed locally by Nigerian Engineers at Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT).

Participants and voters monitored the elections online from their internet enabled laptops and smartphones.

Before voting commenced, data of the members were captured electronically and biometric information taken, and at the venue of the election, the data was accessed electronically and accreditation carried out smoothly.

It was gathered that NIGCOMSAT provided mobile internet via Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) for connectivity to broadcast events online real-time on the NigComSat-1R satellite.

Participants and contestants who monitored the procedures online real-time, were satisfied with the new voting system, and commended NIGCOMSAT Engineers for their ingenuity.

The elections were conducted at the Kwara Hotels, Ilorin and transmitted live on NTA Network.

Pleased with the online election procedures, NSE President, Mustapha Shehu Balarabe, said, "The engineers did extremely well. The innovation, which is novel, has proved that so many good things could come out of Nigeria and we engineers are pioneers in this regard of e-voting."

He said the engineers had done what could be adopted by government in future general elections that is likely to save the country from huge capital flights.

Balarabe called on Nigerian government to embrace electronic voting in subsequent elections, since NIGCOMSAT Engineers have proved that it could be achievable, going by the NSE election.

Chairman, NSE Elections Committee, Charles Mbanefo, who expressed satisfaction over the successful online election, said the online real-time election, made the committee's job light because those who won and those who lost saw the transparency of the process. "It was free and fair. Even people who were not at the venue monitored the election because it was web-based and results were updated real-time on the dedicated website for the election." Mbanefo said.

Pleased with the online voting, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Dr. Chris Uwaje, said "It shows that indigenous technology is capable of meeting global competition. Now that NIGCOMSAT Limited has demonstrated this in very exemplary format, government should constitute a national e-voting committee to do something similar."

A total number of 1,313 voters registered while 1,033 were accredited to vote.

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