Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak across the nations of the earth, Engr Agada Sunday Ojonimi has produced an electronic voting machine to bring to an end rigging in election while practicing social distancing. BINTA SHAMA reports.
Just recently, news had it that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, certain states were preparing for their gubernatorial elections which hopefully would take place at the stipulated time, respectively.
Speaking with the engineer in an interview, Ojonimi said that the time has come for the nation to move from the analogue form of voting to the digital style of voting.
Can you please speak about the invention?
The invention is on the electronic voting apparatus I was awarded in 2018, in the entrepreneur category in 2018 Technology Expo by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
Today the technology is ready for deployment. It will allow Nigerians at home and in Diaspora to cast their vote while still maintaining social distance in View of Covid 19 Pandemic.
How did it all start and what prompted it?
This idea started in 2004, due to the consistent electoral panic by voters in respect of allegation of rigging and how, many Nigerians as well as candidates complain of being unfairly treated and so on. We all know that since the change of power in 1999, from the military to democratic regime, things have not augured well after every election which as an indigenous scientist I settled down to ponder on how to resolve this problem and I came forth with the e-voting machine to help achieve a transparent free and fair election and here we are
Today, I see light at the end of the tunnel concerning the claims and allegation that comes forth after every election whether carried out fairly or unfairly.
On the other hand, Nigeria has always been known as the giant of Africa right from the 1970s. But we all know today that it is the glory of the yesteryears that this country is enjoying and the present state of our nation is that we import everything in View of our numerous human and natural resources, including tooth pick.
Also in view of the electoral violence, vote malpractices, ballot snatching and destruction and killings that characterized our electoral processes, it is expedient for Nigerians to begin to think outside the box. We have to design systems that will translate our manual voting process to it digital equivalent, necessitating voting to be carried out or done from the comfort of our homes. We now have the infrastructures and the apparatus handle to cope with this equivalently.
Another national problem we face is that, during national elections in Nigeria public holidays will be declared, the consequences of these is highly devastating to our epileptic economy. This is absurd, with this new platform the economy does not need to be shot down loosing trillions of naira for that matter. I make this statement with all assurance that elections can be conducted while busy working from anywhere around the world.
Furthermore, INEC the electoral umpire in Nigeria import card readers spending billions of Nigeria naira. The new platform has card reading capability encapsulated in its algorithm.
This system is all stakeholders compliant, as party agents possess their data logger components for feed back control.
It also provides 85% automation for communities that are not capable to perform electronic voting.
Electronic counts of results are done automatically real life. All voting degital transcripts will also be made available incase of any legal questioning to proof transpirancy in the voting system.
Finally, in this COVID 19 pandemic Era, this platform will be helpful to sustain the social distance while carrying out our voting action.
The aforementioned has motivated me to carry this research in developing this platform.
How long has the invention been in progress
As I said earlier was awarded in 2018, the first time it came out of the box. Since then, several testings was ongoing and we are going to embark on global voting as even Nigerians in diaspora can also cast their votes if approved by law.
Cost implication of the invention
I have spent millions to get it to the present stage it is now and hoping that it would be appreciated.
Any collaboration or support in the finished product?
Am still seeking for collaboration and hoping an investor will seek my knowledge and professionalism.
Any financial support by private firms or government?
Well I have not received any support so far from any quarter, like I mentioned to you earlier, I received support from the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology where I was given a token in 2018 with a grant award of 500 thousand Nigerian currency.
What are the advantages of the invention and challenges you faced in the process?
The advantages are enormous and as stipulated in item(b). Summarily:
A. Eradication of electoral violence.
B. Eradication of electoral killings
C. Eradication of ballot snatching as we now have digital balloting.
D. Eradication of public holidays during national elections. Leading to improved economy.
E. Eradication of buying card readers that was seen to malfunction in previous elections. Also, will save Nigeria billions in capital flight due importation.
F. Eradication of manual counting.
G. Eradication of manual coalition.
H. Eradication of Social distancing during the election process.
How does the invention relate to curbing the coronavirus pandemic?
It prevents social distancing as voting can be done from the comfort of our homes. It eradicates gathering of people.
Any final note?
In view of the Executive Order Five, by his Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief Mohammadu Buhari, I want to urge the government to adopt this system to salvage our ailing electoral system.