Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, on Thursday says e-voting constitutes a very important aspect of ICT-enabled democratic governance that propels development.
Mr Inuwa stated this while delivering a paper at a hybrid symposium of the Nigeria e-Government Summit 2022 with the theme, “Promoting e-Government in Election Year for Improved Governance”, in Abuja.
Mr Inuwa was represented by Bernard Ewah, the acting, Director e-Government Development and Regulation Department.
Mr Inuwa said, “e-voting constitutes a very important aspect of ICT-enabled democratic governance.
“It generally aims at increasing participation of citizens in the electoral process and improving the outcomes of elections by addressing challenges associated with traditional voting practices.”
The NITDA boss said that e-voting technologies support one or more of the major phases of the electoral processes from the registration stage in the pre-voting phase to voting, balloting and verification to counting or tallying after voting.
He also said that e-governance has become an important mechanism in enhancing citizens’ participation, monitoring and evaluating government projects.
“E-voting ensures government accountability and transparency as well as transferring information from one sector to another.
“E-government has transformed Nigeria into a world-class economy and has restructured our electoral and other government processes” he said.
According to him, participatory democracy is one of the major requirements for achieving e-governance, particularly, where majority of the citizenry is disenchanted with the electioneering or democratic processes or government.
Mr Inuwa further said that successful adoption of e-voting and e-government, grassroots mobilisation through e-democracy should be encouraged.
He recalled that NITDA has an e-Government Master Plan that promotes the use of e-government at sub-national level and at the grassroots.
The D-G said that Plateau, Benue, Jigawa, Ogun and Nasarawa states had benefited from the initiative.
“The unique feature of e-Governance in an election year is the increasing use of private or non-state infrastructure.
”A lot of Nigerians are utilising personal devices and private networks to disseminate information relating to the forthcoming general election.
“The role of government therefore, is to ensure that non-state actors including individuals and private businesses act responsibly and uphold the common interest of the Nigerian sovereignty.
“The adoption of electronic voting and transmission of results has the potential to drastically reduce the prospect of electoral violence.
“If the polling centers are well secured, political thugs will have little or no influence over proceedings as the results could be transmitted within minutes to the collation center,” Mr Inuwa said.
The NITDA boss said that e-voting was becoming the global standard, ”hence Nigeria should improve its ranking on the global e-governance index”.