Federal Poly Nekede Deploys Electronic Voting System In  Elections

Federal Poly Nekede Deploys Electronic Voting System In Elections

In a major technological milestone, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede has deployed electronic voting procedure in its internal elections.

The new voting procedure is in line with the Smart Campus Initiative of the Rector, Engr. Dr. Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa FNSE, JP. The procedure which has a universal operational mechanism is designed to check fraud, conserve time and maximize cost.

Observers say that it is a credible template that the Independent National Electoral Commission can deploy in future elections in Nigeria.

The deployment of the e-voting platform followed the directive of the tech-savvy Rector that elections conducted for staff and students in whatever category would be done electronically. This has thus completely jettisoned the old, tedious practice of standing in the sun or queuing up for hours to vote in any election.The institution’s latest e-voting technology was deployed last Tuesday in an election conducted to elect staff that would screen candidates who applied for the advertised post of the Polytechnic Librarian.

According to the Director, Information and Communication Technology Unit of the Polytechnic, Engr. Mrs. Mary Nwakanma, “Qualified prospective candidates were given online forms to fill to express their interest.” Candidates were drawn from the Academic Board as well as the Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff.

On the process flow, the ICT Director disclosed that the voting staff were expected to visit the institution’s website using their phones or computer devices and click at “e-voting” displayed on the home page; after which they click on OTP (One Time Password) using their staff number. With the OTP, members of staff could authenticate the process before proceeding to vote. Upon clicking the button “proceed”, a list of candidates would pop up where a voter would exercise his/her franchise by clicking the “submit button”. After clicking the submit button, a voter would still be prompted to crosscheck his ballot before final submission. Upon completing this process, a voter would be redirected to the home page to confirm that his/her ballot has been successfully submitted.

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The voting process was monitored by the entire Polytechnic community via a zoom platform as each vote cast dropped on the portal. It was also displayed on the Polytechnic website for people who could not log on to zoom to access the result. Winners and losers who emerged at the end of the electronic election knew their fate immediately voting ended. The voting process took four hours to enable everyone exercise their right from anywhere in the world.

Speaking to FEDPONEK GAZETTE after his emergence, one of the successful candidates, Dr. Chijioke Chiemela, poured encomiums on the Rector for his innovative approach in solving existential problems bedeviling the society.

In his words, “The Rector has been so wonderful. From the very first day he assumed office, he started talking about ICT and till date he has remained consistent in driving a genuine ICT policy in the institution.

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“For me, the Rector has performed beyond expectations in using ICT to solve problems. My colleagues were able to vote from the comfort of their homes. Those who were not in school were also able to vote. No one felt disenfranchised due to physical distance. The electronic voting was perfect and everything was transparent.”

Another successful candidate in the election, Dr. Nene Ugorji applauded the Rector, describing him as “a genuinely committed technocrat who has big ideas that are driven by technology.”

She described the electronic

voting process as “free, fair and progressive because everyone was given equal opportunities. People voted from their locations without necessarily coming to the school. For one, it gave the women a good platform to fully express themselves like their male counterparts, without stress and associated difficulties.”

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Similarly, the chairman of the Electoral Committee, Dr. Onyekwere Ezirim, described the process as transparent and credible, praising the Rector for deploying technology to solve a fundamental need which affects everyone in the society.

According to Dr. Ezirim, “The electronic voting was highly successful, hitch free and credible. The approach was sound and simple. Staff members voted from their homes and those in school voted from their offices. Everyone rated the process very highly. Even the agents of the candidates who were with us at the auditorium saw through the credibility of the process as the victory or otherwise of candidates was glaring. We had a screen at the auditorium where people congregated to witness the process. In fact, I recommend this process to INEC because it would strengthen the credibility of Nigeria’s balloting system.”

The technological milestone recorded by the Polytechnic last Tuesday squarely reinforces the position of the institution as a leading technological giant in the comity of Nigerian polytechnics, thus, affirming the saying that the Federal Polytechnic truly leads while others follow, if they could. It has also proven among others that with ICT, emergent social and economic problems can be tackled with precision.

Research has proven that electronic voting reinforces the credibility of the electoral process, saves cost anhoud time, grants easy accessibility and enables people with disabilities to easily exercise their franchise.

Results emanating from electronic elections are fast and safe, thus simplifying the whole process of electioneering. The Rector, Engr. Dr. Michael Chidiebere Arimanwa FNSE, JP, has remained focused in deploying a robust ICT infrastructure in the institution.

From laying underground fiber optic cables to deploying LAN and WIFI networks round the polytechnic, Rector Arimanwa is currently driving towards achieving a paperless federal polytechnic. Times without number, the Rector has described ICT as one factor that is capable of solving numerous institutional challenges in the polytechnic in particular and the country in general.

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Like a sage who saw tomorrow, the Rector has been able to inspire members of staff to either be ICT-compliant or relapse into oblivion. It will be recalled that while inaugurating the WIFI infrastructure some months ago, the Rector was emphatic about the use of technology to prevent undue human contacts. It is the contact that he identified as the major source of corruption in the public service.

It is remarkable that virtually all processes in the polytechnic have been digitized by the Rector in just four years. Students’ screening exercise which used to be very tedious and strenuous has been completely digitized. Collection of results, certificates and transcripts can now be applied for online and the allied requests cleared online. This measure has been described as time-saving, digital and plausible.

It is noteworthy that the Federal Polytechnic Nekede had conducted SUG elections and other elections involving staff members using the electronic voting procedure. One recurring factor in all these elections was their proclamation as credible and transparent, thereby eliminating any acrimonious tendencies from disgruntled parties. This is one vital way Rector M.C. Arimanwa has proved to the world that the digital technology is no rocket science.

More importantly, the Rector has clearly shown that Nigeria can adopt the electronic voting system and be a model to others.

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