ANXIETY, AS 2 US FIRMS, OTHERS BATTLE FOR E-VOTING ROLE FOR NBA ELECTIONS
Two United States based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) service providers are battling to be hired by the Electoral Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (ECNBA) to provide the electronic voting platform for the all-important NBA Elections, CITY LAWYER can authoritatively report. The other bidders are VATEBRA Limited and Africa Prudential.
However, while the Virginia based leading E-Ballot Voting Services has submitted a direct bid to deploy its voting platform for the elections, CITY LAWYER reliably gathered that INITS Limited is presenting ElectionBuddy, the ICT provider for the controversial 2020 NBA Elections, as its partner. While acting as the ICT Service Provider, INITS Limited will deploy ElectionBuddy e-voting platform for the elections. INITS Limited was the Technical Support Consultant (TSC) for the 2020 NBA Elections.
In a notice by the ECNBA, it said: “We wish to invite any member of the Association who has any reason why the foregoing entities should not be engaged as Information Communication Technology Service Provider by the ECNBA, to contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with all relevant facts in that regard by or before 11:59pm Tuesday 7 June 2022.”
CITY LAWYER recalls that in a Final Report dated March 16, 2021 and submitted to NBA National Executive Committee (NBA-NEC), the Ayodele Akintunde SAN-led NBA Electoral Audit and Reform Committee noted that the service providers for the controversial 2020 NBA Elections “were Tavia Technologies (“Tavia”) as primary election platform provider and ElectionBuddy as secondary election platform provider. INITS was the technical consultant.” Akintunde is the Chairman of the 2022 ECNBA.
In a damning indictment of the 2020 Elections, the committee stated that “Nigerian lawyers were again optimistic that the 2020 Elections would be seamless as all the challenges encountered in the 2016 and 2018 Elections would have been fully addressed,” noting however that “that was not the case, like the previous elections, the 2020 Elections was controversial and there were pre-election and post-election issues and challenges.”
Continuing, the Audit Committee said: “INITS’ report revealed that during the elections on the ElectionBuddy platform, there were two major challenges. The first challenge was that based on the traffic and requests for the results between the first and second hour of the elections, voters and viewers began experiencing service degradation.”
In a searing indictment of the Technical Support Consultant, the NBA Electoral Audit and Reform Committee noted that “The INITS’ report did not include a Vote-by-Vote Audit Report. The Committee requested for the Report but was not able to obtain it before the submission of this Final Report. It will contain the following details:
b. Ballot Open Time;
c. Ballot Submission Time;
d. IP Address;
e. Position; and
f. Selected Candidate /Abstention.”
The Audit Committee had warned that “The challenges highlighted above are continuous occurrences which have plagued the electoral processes and if not resolved, will persist.”
The ECNBA is set to announce its choice of ICT service provider as the elections draw near.
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