The federal government through the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology, monday unveiled a tamper proof solar-powered electronic voting machine as an improvement to the existing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) process for the 2019 elections.
Demonstrating how the machine works with cloud-based computing, the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ogbonnaya Onu, said the home-grown machine addresses ballot box snatching, multiple thumb printing, failure of card reader and alteration of data between polling units and collation centres.
According to the minister, the indigenous voting machine, has provision for real time election result as voting progresses, provision for diaspora voting, incorporates facial recognition, voters identification in addition to thumb print and card reader.
Onu, who was impressed with the machine said: “I’m exceptionally happy that the agency has made this major contribution and breakthrough to our nation. For too long, election in the country, has been characterised by malpractices with lots of energy and resources spent on post elections court processes and litigations.”
He said his charge to the NASENI to develop a tamper proof voting machine on assumption of office is the ministry’s contribution in making Nigeria conduct a free and fair election, adding: “We want election to be something that people will just move and cast their vote and go back and continue with their life.
“We believe that it is important that every vote must count and every voter matters and this will make our democracy very strong.
“Then, Nigeria will be in a position to elect the person that will represent their interest of those who elected them, because if elections are not free and fair then those elected through falsification and malpractices will not really represent the wish of the people.”
The minister said further: “We are happy that this machine is home grown, it came through a challenge I threw to NASENI because I know that they have the capacity as they have conducted research in nanotechnology in artificial intelligence.”
However, Onu who regretted that lack of adequate funding is a challenge to innovation and research said: “I want this voting machine to be the best machine in the world.
“This agency must continue with research and innovation, government will support you no matter the serious problem with funding, the ministry will support you to improve the quality of this machine and also make it smaller for effective use in future elections.”
In a remark, the DG of the agency, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, said the breakthrough came through the challenge which the minister gave while on tour of Artificial Intelligent Facility at NASENI’s Electronic Development Institute in Awka, to develop efficient, reliable but indigenous electronic voting machine that is tamper proof.
He said the agency has demonstrated the capacity to develop indigenous solutions in hydro electric turbine, solar modules of various wattages, tricycles, motorcycle and high energy saving LED lights.