Whilst online this morning , I drifted to facebook, checked my feeds and saw an update from the president of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck E Jonathan. Think what you may but in 2010, in Nigeria, we have a President who manages to engage a section of society through social media. (Facebook)
With over 160,000 fans and rising daily, this can only be a good thing, if you doubt me compare the figures with any pop stars you know (apart from LADY GAGA) and consider the time frame.
One of the issues raised today was a situation report on our electoral reforms and most importantly INEC. (Independent National Electoral Commission)
I picked up the paper "Thisday" and the first 5 pages I scanned through had something on the 2011 elections, so i realized, election fever is upon us in Nigeria.
It got me thinking about the president's request earlier for participation so here is my contribution.
INEC , so much fuss is being made about the budget (app. 90 billion Naira), and now time constraints are being highlighted pending some constitutional amendments that are integral to the success of this exercise.
At one extreme, there is a fierce debate on if we are to upgrade the already existing voters register or scrap it completely and create a brand new one. (Remember there are time constraints)But these days we too are Hi tech in Nigeria so we are doing "E- registration"
In the private sector, some local IT companies are campaigning furiously to be awarded the contract of delivering 120,000 direct data capture machines as opposed to awarding the contract to some foreign firm, which in a way does make some sense because providing a local firm can deliver, this has a tremendous potential for capacity building in Nigeria's IT sector.
If we are to have credible elections this time around, yes scrap the old voters list and create a new one.
Since the creation of the last electoral register, a potential 15million young Nigerians have come of age and are now are eligible to vote - How and why should they not be included in the 2011 elections?
This is forgetting the dubious nature or should I say quality of the last electoral register that was blatantly questioned the world over.
E- registration is a good idea, and yes Professor Attahiru Jega is absolutely right with the correct support technology can speed up the registration period after all countries like India and Brazil have achieved all this ages ago using local IT companies and handling large populations as well.
But the one thing everybody is overlooking in all this hysteria is a very vital issue.
Once we do all the electronic registration and get a good quality voters list, on the actual day of voting (one man one vote) do we vote electronically or do we put thumb prints and stuff into ballot boxes?
If the bottom line involves ink, paper and thumb prints then I sorry sorry ooh! because it will all be a futile endeavor on the other hand if the actual voting involves electronic devices which can then be cross referenced with the electronic register then Nigeria at 50 we have come a long way.
fundamental lesson I learn t in my undergraduate days about IT or any system infact, the quality of information you input will adversely impact the quality of the out put you get .
To put it simply, garbage in garbage out
23rd August 2010