If well deployed and monitored adequately, technology has been described as a game changer for electioneering processes.
This was the view of panelists, yesterday at the Social Media Week, Lagos 2019.
With few days to the commencement of Nigeria’s general elections, they advocated the deployment of open data mechanism to fast track result gathering processes.
Speaking on the topic: ‘’The 2019 General Elections: How Technology Can Help”, the panelists, noted that in advance countries, technology played critical roles in the outcomes of some of the elections.
A panelist, Michael Famoroti, Partner at Stears Business, said that elections data ought to be made open for public consumption.
He said in Nigeria, the case is different as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was sceptical in pushing out information.
“Data is going to be the building blocks of the new Nigerian society and so the need to make it open for public consumption.
“Data from election processes will allow one to monitor trends and begin to explain how things are in the country,’’ he said.
Famoroti said that in obtaining data during elections, their organisation had built a data site where they use crowd sourcing to help track things easily at polling stations.
He added that the power of crowd sourcing, which make use of survey, had to do with people collecting data that begins to form the map.
“The focus during election is instant reporting and in using crowd sourcing one need to leverage on numbers,’’ he stressed.
He added that as regards the rural areas, technology would not change people from selling their votes as they are faced with poverty.
Principal Admin Officer, INEC, Buka Luka, said that Commission would take advantage of technology to make the elections credible.
“INEC will make use of the card readers, also without the Personal Voters Card one cannot vote and at the end, there will be e-collation with the card reader.
“There is no room for political manipulation, which is why politicians are buying people’s conscience by giving them gifts.
“During voting, one will not be allowed to go in with electronic appliances and this is to safeguard people,’’ he said.
Prosecutor with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Mrs. Yvonne William, said that reporting election malpractices should come with form of evidence.
According to her, there is no way the commission can prosecute an offender without having an adequate evidence to back the complaint.
“A good and stable government goes a long way in supporting the society and thus the need for collaboration in information and report passed out.
“To ensure that there is a free and fair election, there is need to educate the public on the ill of vote selling.
“ICPC Act has given the Commission power to be independent and findings gathered with evidence will be pushed to court which decides who to convict or not,’’ she said.
William said that in getting evidence of malpractices, video taking should be done systematically and smartly as one should be safety conscious.
From his perspective, Lagos Coordinator, Vote, not Fight, Lateef Salaam, wants the populace to take ownership of the country by playing their role.
He urged the public to use the social media to reflect what was happening in the polling booth but be security conscious while doing so.