Former minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, has tasked partners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to insist on third-party testing of technology platform to ascertain its integrity and performance ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Chidoka stated that improved use of technology by INEC is key to the success of the 2023 election foreshadowed by concerns about national conventions on zoning and equity
A statement by Chidoka’s media aide, Ikechukwu Okafor, said the PDP chieftain and founder of Unlock Naija, spoke during a conference on US Policy And Nigeria’s 2023 elections held on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Kenney Auditorium at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Washington DC.
The statement added that the former minister emphasised that third party in the mould of the top consultancy firms operating in Nigeria conducting performance, functionality, reliability, security, usability, scalability, recoverability, load as well as stress testing to ascertain the fitness of INEC’s technology platform is a critical requirement.
“The experiences of failures and downtimes affecting voter accreditation in Anambra and FCT municipal elections makes the testing and certification essential”, Chidoka said.
Chidoka however praised INEC’s technology adoption and continuous innovation against the political party’s apathy towards technology. He described the political party’s slow adoption of technology as the weak link in the political process.
“It is worrisome that a government agency, INEC, is leading technology adoption while the political parties are lagging and making little or no effort to adopt technology in their processes,” Chidoka lamented.
Responding to issues raised about the crisis of legitimacy posed by the consistent decline in voter turnout since the 2011 election, Chidoka argued that a decrease in voter turnout could be due to some factors.
These factors he said, include the increasing number of voters in the register without a corresponding clean up to reflect death, double registration and other issues that contribute to the growth of the voter register.
“INEC cannot determine Nigeria’s election voter turnout until the voter register is cleaned up through removal of dead people, de-duplication and clean up of the register started since 2011,” Chidoka stressed.
The conference was organised by Nextier Consulting, in partnership with the School of Advanced and International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, the School of International Service at the American University, and the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development at the University of Massachusetts.
It was organised to discuss ways to manage Nigeria’s increasing fragility in the face of growing national security crisis arising from widespread kidnappings, banditry, multiple ongoing insurrections, rising secessionist movements, intensifying farmer-herder conflicts, and elite struggles over control of political offices.
Speakers at the conference include an array of US academics like Carl Levan, Peter Lewis, Darren Kew, US Deputy Assistant Secretary Bureau of African Affairs, Michael Gonzales and Brig. Gen Saleh Bala (Rtd). Nigeria Civil Society had Dr Hussaini Abdu, Ayisha Osori, Uge Timipanipre and Cynthia Mbamalu who join online as panellists at the conference.
Other panellists included Bishop Mattew Kukah, Oge Onubogu, Kole Shettima and DJ Switch. The conversations focused on how US policy can best strengthen democratic institutions in Nigeria and help the country manage its perfect storm of security crises, and help affirm commitment to civilian electoral rule in Nigeria.