To say the handling of the 2011 voters registration was an abysmal failure is to state the obvious. Like many Nigeria Institution, The Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) under the leadership of Prof. Jega has made a huge joke of Information Technology.
This post is conceived from 3 standpoints, my participation in the voter’s registration as Assistant Registration Officer (ARO II), Polling Officer (PO) during the 2011 general elections and my knowledge of Database Management System (DBMS).
During the 2011 general election in Emure Ekiti; I served as Polling Officer at two (2) polling units. While accrediting voters in one of the polling units, I identified a girl who was a serial voter – had voters card for different polling units.
This revelation confirmed that the data collected during registration were not centralized to weed out multiple registrations. A centralized database would go a long way to curtail and nullify multiple registrations.
Loopholes associated with the Voters Registration.
- Why were the masses put through the stress of scanning their 10 fingers (biometrics) when it is possible for a single individual to register at different registration point?
- Why is impossible to request the collection of my Voters card at my current location?
- For those who have misplaced their Temporary Voters Card (TVC), why were they encouraged by INEC officials to register for a fresh Voters Card, when there ought to be a centralized database from which their information could be fetched?
- The 87.7 billion Naira budgeted for this exercise has not been justified; just another drain pipe to our collective resources.
In lieu of the above, I have these recommendations for INEC
- As a matter of urgency, the voters record collected nationwide should be centralized for the purpose of weeding out multiple registrations.
- Decentralize the collection of voters’ card. One of the benefits of a Database is to put information in one place and make it accessible from different locations. To get an Automated Teller Machine Card for my bank account, I do not have to visit the branch where the account was created.
I recall that the returning officers during the 2011 election where Vice Chancellors. In the same way, the team in charge of planning the Voters registration could be drawn from the academic environment – Information Technology Units.
Finally, it’s sad that some of the Direct Data Capture (DCC) Machine and it components (Battery Pack, Webcam, Backup Storage, Printer, USB Cable, Scanner, Back pack and the DDC Casing) used for the Voters registration were looted, auctioned and sold out after the registration exercise. Some were stolen by Corp members who were deployed as Assistant Registration Officers. I am not accusing Prof Jega for this but you will agree that it happened under his watch. A realistic measure should be put in place to ensure the safety of the machines given the investment, amount spent in acquiring them.
I do not know how knowledgeable Prof. Jega is ICT wise. In future appointments to INEC key positions, I suggest candidates with appreciable knowledge of Information Technology be considered for such positions.
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