If we are going to be honest with ourselves technology has drastically reduced incidences of electoral malpractices such as: ballot stuffing, result sheet mutilation, manipulations, over voting, alteration of result sheets and hijacking of ballot boxes in the history of Nigeria elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has employed a number of innovative approaches to improve the management and conduct of elections in the country. As years pass by, INEC gets more sophisticated with its technologies in order to meet up with international standard. Therefore, this paper examines the impact of these technologies and the effect they have on election activities in Nigeria from 1999 general election to 2017. Results show that the introduction of these technologies: Electronic Voters Register(EVR), Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS) and Smart Card Reader (SCR) have reduced the incidence of multiple registration and multiple voting to the barest minimum while the development of e-collation support platform has drastically reduced incidence of result manipulation at collation centres. Hence, it is believed that the incorporation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria electoral process has reduced excessive electoral fraud to the barest minimum and foster credible elections
In this war of interests, here are ways technology and internet are already impacting Nigeria’s upcoming election.
There are now designed mobile apps and websites that can aggregate real-time updates from polling units from across the country; some of them with geo-tagging function to track these updates by location.
Nigeria Elections is a mobile app. It aggregates news around the elections, and also provides the listing of polling booths, national constituencies, presidential candidates and their running mates. The results of the election will be uploaded on the app when it is officially announced.
Online Conversations and Campaigns
Traditional media: print, television and radio, remained the major sources of information dissemination in Nigeria, until enormous mobile penetration, data availability and cheap access.
Internet usage in Nigeria grew by 16% in 2014, making a total of about 37.53% of Nigerians with internet access. Politicians have joined the growing online community.
Political office hopefuls and their supporters have taken to twitter and sent out political messages with hashtags like #GEJ_WINS, #CHANGE e.t.c.
Sponsored posts are popping up at every click of the mouse as there’s a good possibility you encounter a political ad – thanks AdSense – while watching a YouTube video or just reading through your favorite blog.
Social media brand promoters also known as pirates of Nigerian twitter are also part of online advertising stratagem. They are throwing their online weight behind the highest bidding political party.
The incorporation of ICT in Nigerian electoral system has really modernized the system and improved election management in the country. Results revealed that the introduction of Electronic Voters Register (EVR), Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS) and Smart Card Reader (SCR) have reduced the incidence of multiple registration and multiple voting to the barest minimum while the introduction of e-collation support platform has drastically reduced incidence of manipulations at collation center’s because results are transmitted in real time. Hence, the incorporation of Information Communication Technology in election management in Nigeria has curbed excessive electoral fraud to the barest minimum, foster credible elections and added credence to INEC transparency.