The Draft by Techloy brings you data-driven news and insights into technology across the world's largest emerging markets from trusted sources.

This week (end)'s edition was curated by Yeb and edited by Loy.

Nigerians are going to the polls to elect their next President this weekend, and this edition of The Draft examines how technology can revolutionise the electoral process and lead to credible elections in the country.

Approximately 95 million registered voters are expected to participate in Nigeria's 2023 general elections on Saturday, February 25 for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections and Saturday, March 11 for the gubernatorial election. The polls are expected to take place in over 700 local government areas in the country, across over 170,000 polling units. During the elections, the voters will choose a president, federal legislators, and state governors.

With a history of electoral malpractices, violence, and voter suppression, the country will be holding its most technologically advanced election as it implements two vital technologies – BVAS and IReV – to bolster transparency and accessibility of election results while eliminating electoral fraud, thanks to the passage of the Electoral Act of 2022, which has empowered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the country’s electoral body, to utilize technology to facilitate the conduct of elections.

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) is a technological device that utilizes fingerprint and facial recognition to identify and accredit voters before casting their ballots. The INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) is an online portal where polling unit-level results are uploaded directly from the polling unit, transmitted, and published for public access. The accessibility of polling unit-level results will boost transparency and public confidence in the electoral process.

According to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, some 22 new innovations have been introduced into the electoral process including the Smart Card Reader (SCR), Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV), Collation Support and Results Verification System (CSRVS), Situation Room, Election Monitoring and Support Centre, and Compliance and Threat Data Acquisition and Sharing System.

INEC believes that the combined use of BVAS and IReV will mitigate the most common flaws in Nigeria's election result management process. However, there are concerns about Nigeria's weak cybersecurity and outdated computing resources, which could lead to the malfunctioning or manipulation of the BVAS and IReV systems.

Despite these challenges, experience has demonstrated that technology can play a significant role in promoting free and fair elections in more technologically advanced countries. It is therefore important that Nigeria’s electoral body ensures the security of the technology being used in the electoral process and address any weaknesses in the system.

While technology has positively impacted the transparency and fairness of Nigeria's electoral process, there is still a need for improved cybersecurity and the accessibility of electronic voting machines in rural areas as Nigerians go to elect their new leaders.

The rest of this week's edition of The Draft continues below, featuring company layoffs, new product releases, business expansions, acquisitions, startup funding, and mobile industry insights.

To a peaceful and credible election 🗳️


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