The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been advised to seek collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Nigerian Immigration to ascertain the authentic citizens resident in Nigeria and eligible to vote in the coming general elections.
Dr Ibrahim Isa Pantami, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) gave the advice, shortly after collecting his Permanent Voters Card (PVC) at the Government Secondary School, Gwarimpa, in Abuja.
Pantami said the only way INEC could guarantee hitch-free election was to automate the process of the entire electoral activities across the country.
“It will be very easier for us to have free and fair elections if we are serious about our National Identity Management Card.
“With this, we will be able to know the number of people in the country and any tampering, we will cross-check but if we do not have a database, it will be difficult for us to manage the future election processes.
‘‘At the level, we are going, we will reach a level everything will be automated and most importantly, no system is 100% secured.
“More importantly, INEC has a lot of roles to play; it should know that no single agency can do it alone.
“If they have expertise in conducting the election, for sure they do not have
expertise in Information technology.
“For example, they have no capacity to verify the true citizens of the country so that other people will not come here to vote.
“That is why inter-agency collaboration is very important. But sometimes, when we feel that somebody can do it alone, then that will be the beginning of our downfall.
“INEC should understand that they cannot do it alone.
“If they want a free and fair election, the first thing they should do is to identify the relevant institutions and the role they have to play so that they can come together and have and have an effective team and make it more successful.
“I hope in the subsequent elections, we will improve electronically bit by bit until we reach a level it will be 100% electronically.’’
According to him, “To achieve this feat, he advised the INEC to recognize the importance of synergy with sister agencies relevant in the electoral process and collaborate with them to be able to deliver credible and
acceptable elections in the country.
On the possibility of hacking INEC in the coming elections, the NITDA henchman adduced, “in IT, no system is 100 per cent secured all over the world, some 79 per cent, some 60 per cent and some 90 per cent.
“When something is online, it is exposed to so many dangers, even during the last election in the US, which Russia tampered with.
“This tells you that it is much difficult to conduct a free and fair election when everything thing is done online because the way things are safely guided today, people are trying to alter it.
“But with voters card and card reader, this is a bit more and relatively safer, electronic accreditation process.’’