Kaduna state sets a pace for other states in Nigeria to follow when it conducted its local government councils elections electronically. The election which was conducted on Saturday, May 12, 2018, made Kaduna state the second in Africa to use electronic voting, after Namibia. The question now is if Nigeria is prepping for the adoption of the blockchain technology?
From Ballot Box to E-voting
For decades, elections have been conducted manually in Nigeria with voters having to walk long distances most often to get to their polling units. When voters arrive at their polling units, they have to go through the process of accreditation, before voting for their preferred candidates with the use of ballot papers. After the election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has to collate the votes from different centers count them (which might take days) before announcing the winner. This process takes a long time and most often, the ballot box gets stolen, INEC officials get attacked and voters are kept in harm’s way or bribed. But, voters didn’t find ballot papers at the Kaduna election, instead, they found an electronic voting machine displaying the logos of the political parties participating in the election.
The Governor of Kaduna state Nasir El-Rufai explained that the reason the Government opted for electronic voting was to promote transparency and electoral integrity. This is one aspect the blockchain can fix in the system of Nigeria’s election as the governor acknowledges that democracy benefits when election results reflect the actual choices made by voters. The chairman of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (SIECOM), Dr. Saratu Binta Dikko-Audu acknowledged that the electronic voting machines which were procured will guarantee the voting integrity.
The Future is Here
The provision for electronic voting is backed by the Kaduna State Independent Election Commission Law No.2 of 2018. The blockchain community in Nigeria anticipates a law that will back the blockchain technology in different sectors in Nigeria. This will aid transparency in electoral processes in Nigeria, end duplication of votes, save costs, reduce election violence, save time and end bribery and corruption since the election will be stored on the distributed ledger technology. It is exciting to see the West Africa nation taking a forward step towards technological developments in its electoral process. The blockchain technology will be great for the nations upcoming presidential election as its citizens are losing trust in its electoral processes. But the question to be asked is if Nigeria is getting ready to adopt the blockchain?