Election credibility is a crucial aspect of any democratic process, as it ensures that the will of the people is accurately reflected in the outcome of the election. In recent years, the issue of election credibility has become a major concern in Nigeria, with instances of voter fraud and irregularities casting doubt on the integrity of the electoral process. In response to these concerns, many have called for the use of technology to improve the credibility of elections in Nigeria.
One of the key ways in which technology can improve the credibility of elections in Nigeria is by reducing the potential for voter fraud. In the past, manual voting systems have been susceptible to manipulation, with instances of multiple voting, ballot stuffing, and other forms of fraud. On the other hand, the use of electronic voting machines can help prevent these forms of fraud by automatically tallying the votes and providing real-time updates on the vote count. This can help to ensure that every vote is accurately counted and can provide a more transparent and efficient way of tabulating the results. This has been employed by the provision of electronic voting and the electronic transmission of results in the amended Electoral Act signed by the president on February 25th.
In addition to reducing the potential for voter fraud, technology can also be used to improve the accuracy and fairness of the electoral process. The use of voter registration databases and biometric voter identification systems can help to prevent multiple voting and ensure that only eligible voters are able to cast their ballots. This can help reduce the potential for voter fraud and ensure that the election results accurately reflect the will of the people. Furthermore, the use of technology can enable the real-time monitoring of polling stations, through the use of video surveillance and other monitoring tools, allowing election officials to quickly identify and address any issues that may arise. This can help to ensure that the electoral process is conducted in a fair and transparent manner.
Technology can greatly improve the credibility of elections in Nigeria by increasing transparency and accountability. The impartiality of the electoral commission and the fairness of the voting procedure have both previously been questioned. Technology can help allay these concerns by offering real-time updates on the vote total and enabling the quick identification and correction of any irregularities. This can help to enhance the credibility of the election results and increase public trust in the electoral process.
Additionally, the use of new voting methods like online voting or voting by mail can be made possible by technology, which can increase accessibility and convenience for voters. Increasing voter turnout and ensuring that the election results accurately reflect the will of the electorate can both be facilitated by this. Furthermore, the use of technology can also enable the use of crowdsourcing to collect real-time information on the voting process at different polling units, allowing for the early detection of any issues or irregularities that may arise. Hence, Zabe, an election monitoring app built by the Centre for Civic, Citizen’s Welfare, and Community Development (CCWD) in partnership with the Civic Media Lab (a centre for innovation and journalism development with four focus areas — media, democracy, design, and technology) was launched in 2019.
The app aims to democratize the election monitoring process through the collective efforts of volunteers from all over the country. The app uses factual and real-time information input by certified volunteers to provide insights on elections and the collation of results. Monitoring of election results with the app was pretty successful, as it recorded a little difference of about 3% from the official results put out by INEC at that time, of which 1.2% resulted from a lack of volunteers in the region causing the difference in result in the 2019 elections.
Overall, using technology can bring about a number of advantages that will enhance the credibility of elections in Nigeria. These could include decreasing the possibility of voter fraud, enhancing the accuracy and fairness of the electoral process, increasing transparency and accountability, and enabling new forms of voting. This is essential to the ongoing operation of democracy in Nigeria. The use of technology ought to be promoted in order to raise the credibility of the nation’s future elections.