On the 27th of January 2020, the Vanguard Newspaper of Nigeria published University of Nigeria (UNN) intention to leverage e-voting in curbing electoral challenges in the school. The announcement also came with a call for Nigeria and its INED to do same. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), has unveiled plans to implement an electronic voting system for its upcoming Students Union Government (SUG) election.
The decision aims to address issues of electoral violence and manipulation inherent in the manual voting system. Prof. Edwin Omeje, the Dean of Students’ Affairs at UNN, emphasized the adoption of a biometric voting system. Under this system, students would undergo digital registration before casting their votes, ensuring a secure and credible process.
Speaking on the development, Prof. Omeje urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider adopting a similar system to avoid the challenges associated with manual elections. He emphasized the need for a reliable and corruption-free system, stating that the traditional manual voting system has proven to be cumbersome and susceptible to manipulation.
Highlighting the university’s commitment to transparent elections, Prof. Omeje mentioned the management’s directive to implement e-voting in 2018. The UNN’s approach goes beyond standard electronic voting, incorporating a full biometric system to guarantee the authenticity of each vote. The system aims to prevent unauthorized voting on behalf of others.
Despite initial resistance from students, the university is steadfast in its commitment to implementing the biometric voting system. Prof. Omeje stressed the importance of setting an example for the nation, advocating for the widespread adoption of biometric election systems. He drew parallels with the security measures in banking, citing the Bank Verification Number (BVN) as a precedent.
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In conclusion, Prof. Omeje assured the university community that all necessary equipment for a smooth election process has been procured, and security measures are in place to ensure a secure and successful election.
NB: This news article was first published by the nation’s national newspaper on January 27, 2020
Transforming Student Elections: UNN’s E-Voting System Takes on Electoral Malpractices
Introduction: The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), has taken a pioneering step towards curbing electoral malpractices in Nigerian universities through the introduction of an electronic voting system. As the nation grapples with the question of adopting this transformative system, this article delves into the intricacies of the newly implemented UNN e-voting system.
Background: In the preceding year, the UNN postponed its Students Union Government (SUG) election, citing undisclosed reasons. Recognizing the prevalence of electoral irregularities as a catalyst for unrest across African campuses, the UNN has embraced innovation to address these issues.
How UNN E-Voting Works: The UNN e-voting system simplifies the voting process, ensuring transparency and fairness. The second phase of the SUG voting involves enrollment at the faculty level, accessing the university portal, logging in with credentials, and selecting e-voting on the election day. Detailed instructions can be found at [link].
Benefits of UNN E-Voting for Nigerian Universities: The adoption of the UNN e-voting system signifies a crucial step towards addressing challenges within tertiary institutions. The system promises corrections in the following areas:
- Electoral Violence and Cult Clashes:
- The system aims to mitigate unrest caused by cult clashes during elections, ensuring a violence-free electoral process.
- Manipulations and Election Rigging:
- UNN’s e-voting system, if appropriately programmed, could eliminate practices like stealing of materials and result alterations, providing a transparent and tamper-proof electoral outcome.
Challenges and Recommendations: While the UNN’s initiative is commendable, challenges may arise, including voter reluctance. To overcome these challenges, recommendations include compulsory voting by students to ensure active political participation and accurate representation.
Opportunities for Nigerian Students: Beyond the e-voting system, students can explore scholarships, business grants, and various opportunities compiled in a list of undergraduate scholarships to secure funding.
Conclusion: The UNN’s embrace of e-voting sets a precedent for Nigerian and African universities, offering a potential solution to electoral malpractices. The adoption of such systems is crucial for effective leadership, representation, and the overall advancement of the nation’s political landscape.
Can Nigeria Overcome Electoral Unrests?
Overcoming electoral unrests in Nigeria is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires a combination of political, social, and institutional efforts. Here are key considerations:
- Political Will:
- The commitment of political leaders to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections is paramount. Leaders must prioritize democratic values and be dedicated to addressing the root causes of electoral unrest.
- Institutional Reforms:
- Strengthening electoral institutions and ensuring their independence is crucial. Institutions like electoral commissions should be equipped with the resources and autonomy needed to conduct credible elections.
- Legal Framework:
- A robust legal framework that clearly defines electoral processes, safeguards against malpractices, and imposes strict penalties for electoral offenses is essential. Regular reviews and updates to adapt to changing dynamics are necessary.
- Civic Education:
- Educating the public on the importance of democratic processes, their voting rights, and the consequences of electoral violence is vital. Civic education fosters a culture of responsible citizenship and political engagement.
- Security Measures:
- Implementing effective security measures during elections helps prevent and respond to violence. Collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies and electoral bodies are crucial for maintaining peace.
- Technological Solutions:
- Embracing technology in the electoral process, such as electronic voting systems and transparent result transmission, can enhance accuracy and reduce opportunities for manipulation.
- International Support:
- International organizations and the global community can play a role in providing technical assistance, monitoring elections, and exerting diplomatic pressure to ensure adherence to democratic principles.
- Conflict Resolution Mechanisms:
- Establishing robust conflict resolution mechanisms, including post-election reconciliation processes, helps address grievances and foster national unity.
- Youth and Civil Society Involvement:
- Engaging youth and civil society organizations in the electoral process promotes inclusivity and diverse representation. Their active participation can serve as a check on electoral misconduct.
- Economic Development:
- Addressing socio-economic challenges and promoting inclusive economic development can contribute to reducing the underlying tensions that often lead to electoral unrest.
While no solution guarantees complete eradication of electoral unrest, a comprehensive and sustained effort involving multiple stakeholders is essential for creating an environment conducive to peaceful and democratic elections.