Obasanjo, Jega, three African ex-presidents seek use of ICT in polls.

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Obasanjo, Jega, three African ex-presidents seek use of ICT in polls.

•INEC registered 14.5m voters in last CVR, Yakubu discloses

Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega has canvassed the use of appropriate technology in the conduct of elections.

   He spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at a programme organized by the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).

  The meeting was in conjunction with the Open Society Foundations, seeking ways to use technology to enhance transparency in the electoral process.

  Jega said the technology would go a “long way to improve the efficiency of the conduct of elections, as well as the integrity of elections, worldwide, especially in Africa.”

  Four former African presidents who attended the programme are John Mahama (Ghana), Ernest Koroma (Sierra Leone) and Raila Odinga (Kenya) and Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), who chaired the occasion.

  According to the former INEC boss, “Opportunities need to be explored and adequately utilized. But, we must constantly remember that the use of ICT in elections is a means to an end and not an end in itself.”

  Jega spoke on: “Practical experience in the use of ICT in the election process in Africa: The Nigerian Experience.”

  Obasanjo explained that the essence of the meeting was “to review electoral systems in Africa, especially inputs, processes, and outcomes.

  He also stressed the need for examining the strengths and weaknesses in the use of ICT in electoral systems in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

  Obasanjo further stated that the “essence is to illustrate how ICT can be used to ease the electoral process rather than inhibit it, document good practices in e-voting across the world and extract lessons for Africa.”

  Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu yesterday said in Abuja that 14.5 million voters were registered in the last Continuous Voter Registration exercise (CVR).

    Yakubu, who made the disclosure at a security summit, organized by the Nigeria police, said he was glad to report that all PVCs for fresh registrants have been printed and delivered to the states and FCT, Abuja.

 He said this followed the mobilization of eligible citizens by stakeholders in the electoral process to register as fresh voters.

  The commission appealed to traditional rulers, religious leaders, socio-cultural associations, civil society organizations, and the media to similarly mobilize the new registrants to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

   He said INEC plans to devolve the collection to at least, the ward level while promising to keep citizens informed about the process.