Opinion: Card Readers And Electoral System

 

By Oludaisi Omokungbe

 

The development and use of technology in achieving a special task in an efficient and effective manner to produce a verifiable result is taking a central stage of discourse and implementation in every aspect of human endeavour. The introduction of a smartcard reader machine by the Independent National Electoral Commission to determine the validity of the Permanent Voter Cards and their owners’ identity for elections in the forthcoming 2015 elections is considered a step forward by many. However, some believe that Nigeria is not yet ripe for a technology of this nature and magnitude in our electoral system.

The introduction of the card reader machine has generated wide ranging discussions on the tendencies either that the use of the card reader will catalyze the process of free, fair and acceptable election results or mar the process of free, fair and acceptable elections over the assumption that the machine might fail during operations. Up till now, it is still generating a lot of hot arguments especially in the political cycle and some of the Nigerian citizens who are passionate about free, fair and credible elections.

Whether the arguments continue or not, as an activist of technology, I want to provide a support base for the use of the machine in our elections since we are mostly confronted with the issue of election rigging and other electoral malpractices, and the Independent National Electoral Commission has provided more than enough information on how the machine works and its proposed effects on our elections.

Some of those who have stood firm against the use of the card reader do so on the basis that it might hinder successful accreditation process having not been tested in any previous election. But they failed to recognise that we can only start from somewhere and that one does not need to doubt to a large extent the effectiveness of technology to achieving a task. What is important here is the necessary and adequate training of the ad hoc staff that are going to make use of the machines for the elections. And INEC has been trying in this regard to get its ad hoc staff trained on how to use the machines effectively.

We should not continue to demonstrate a high level of ignorance about the use and adaptability of technology to achieve our business, educational and political tasks. Technology is a revolution today that we can use in our daily drive to improve on our efficiency and productivity.

Today, banking and commerce are becoming increasingly pleasurable and of less stressful practice as a result of the adoption of technology in driving these lines of business and transactions.

 

Oludaisi Omokungbe wrote from  Akure, Ondo State in Nigeria.

*This opinion piece was originally published on The Punch Newspaper.