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INEC Harps on the Role of ICT in Elections

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Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, President, ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC), said in spite of the challenges of deploying technology in electoral processes, its benefits had remained enormous.

He stated this yesterday at the opening of a three-day International Conference of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in West and Southern African countries in Abuja.

The conference has “Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Technology: Experiences from West and Southern Africa’’ as theme.

Yakubu, who is also the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said that the deployment of technology had encouraged and empowered citizens, more than before, to participate in the electoral process.

According to him, technology has helped citizens to organise, mobilise and protect their mandates using various social media platforms to track result transmission and undertake Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).

The ECONEC president said that given the deficit of infrastructure and expertise in many West and Southern Africa countries, and the regularity of elections conducted, concerns had been raised about cost, choice and effectiveness of technology.

He said that given the high stakes involved in conducting elections in developing countries, electoral commissions must understandably be worried about the twin issues of communication and security.

“In addition, we have to contend with the disturbing but rapidly increasing incidence of election-meddling through the deployment of counter-technology on a global scale by state and non-state actors.

“Nevertheless, technology has come to stay and its benefits are immense.

“`While it is true that all countries participating in this conference have deployed technology in one form or the other to improve on the electoral process, the outcome varies from one country to another.

“However, with this coming together of election managers and experts to share experience, we shall be better prepared in making the choice of the appropriate and cost effective technology that increase the public confidence in the electoral process.

“This will also help us further protect the sanctity and integrity of the ballot,’’ he said.

In a goodwill message, Notemba Tjipeuja, Executive Committee Chairperson, Election Commission Forum, Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC), said that the introduction of ICT in the electoral process had continued to attract interest among stakeholders.

Tjipeuja, also the Chairperson, Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), the first country in Africa to use electronic voting machine, said that one of the benefits of technology was automatic and error-free counting.

She listed other benefits of the introduction of electronic voting machine as replacement of the ballot paper and ballot boxes.

Some others, according to her, include the elimination of spoilt ballots, minimising of human error, speeding up the voting process, securing of votes on control units and maintaining the secrecy of the ballot.

Tjipeuja said “today, most EMBs around the world use new technologies such as computer-based software and more complex technology in electoral processes.

“While we all agree that as EMBs, we cannot ignore technology, we have to at the same time, be mindful of the cost associated with the management of elections.

“This is one of the challenges for governments and all EMBs.

“We are mindful of the need for cost-saving measures by all EMBs to curb the ever-increasing cost of elections, the need to carefully manage the use of ICT and the need to sustain the integrity of elections,’’ she added.

Delegates from 30 countries in ECOWAS sub-region are attending the conference.

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Lancaster University Honours Ozigbo, MD/CEO Transcorp Hotels

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Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, managing director/chief executive, Transcorp Hotels Plc, was on Friday conferred the award of a Distinguished Alumni of the Lancaster University. The award was conferred on him at a special convocation ceremony of the university held at its Ghana Campus.

 

Prof. Mark Smith, University’s Vice Chancellor, who spoke during the event, praised Ozigbo for his laudable achievements recorded over the years since he graduated from the university.

 

He said, “Your extraordinary achievements in both the banking and luxury hospitality industries are impressive, as is your passion for promoting youth empowerment through initiatives such as youth leadership forums.

 

“This award is therefore to appreciate these achievements as we believe that your contribution to your field will be an inspiration to current Lancaster University students and their parents,” he noted.

 

Ozigbo who expressed delight over the honour accorded to him by his alma mater, commended the ideals of the school, which according to him contributed immensely towards molding him to the heights he had achieved till date.

 

He said, “My studies at Lancaster University laid a solid foundation in my life for the progress I achieved, because soon after my graduation, I started off with then Standard Trust Bank (which became United Bank for Africa), and was charged with the responsibilities that had global outlook in nature, including managing investment banking clients, embassies and multilaterals and later on global expansion.

 

“So, the fact that this was a top international University and the specialized discipline I majored in, among others, contributed to the decision to work in these international areas. I excelled in each of these areas because Lancaster University exposed and prepared me well. Therefore, I give credit to Lancaster University for my modest achievements,” he said.

 

Ozigbo, a Chevening Scholar, graduated in 2004 from the Lancaster University Management School England with an outstanding Masters Degree in Finance, with Distinction. He also holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Accounting (1994), emerging the best Student in the faculty, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Banking and Finance (2000), both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

 

He is a fellow of many professional bodies, notably Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

 

Since leaving Lancaster University in 2004, Mr. Ozigbo has achieved a lot in both professional, personal and community life. He spent a total of 17 years in the banking industry rising to the level of General Manager before transitioning to the hospitality industry where he led the positive transformation of Transcorp Hotels Plc for over 7 years, winning many awards locally, regionally and globally, including Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality CEO of the Year Award (presented at a global event in Spain).

 

Ozigbo is also known for his youth empowerment works. Apart from leading the effort, with another friend of his in donating books from Lancaster University to the University of Nigeria, where they first graduated from, he has been involved in a number of mentorship, youth empowerment and community development initiatives.

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Hyde Satisfies Consumer Demands with New Retail Station

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Hyde, a global oil and commodities trading company and producer of premium lubricants in Nigeria, has launched a new retail station in Egbeda, Lagos.

This station, the sixth from the company, is in line with the company’s vision to be one of the top five most respected brands in petroleum products trading and delivery in Nigeria.

Equipped with innovative technology, the station is designed to satisfy consumers through product and service delivery.

It will run for 18 hours daily dispensing petrol, diesel and kerosene. Also available for purchase at the station are Hyde Energy’s range of automotive lubricants with various options from synthetic, multi-grade, monograde, specialty oils for tailor-made applications and all types of greases.

Mr. Oladimeji Edwards, CEO of Hyde Limited, stated that the new station is inspired by the Company’s commitment to provide efficient fueling solutions for customers.

“The launch of this station in Egbeda comes as part of our efforts to bring energy closer to our customers. We remain committed to maintaining exceptionally high standards in our product and service offerings and we are certain that our customers will get the best experience at our stations”.

“Quality and excellence define our services and we deliver on our promise through exceptional business management. Our customers are assured of high-quality products at the right pump price and quantity at our stations”. Mr. Edwards added.

On his part, the Head of Retail & Commercial Sales at Hyde Limited, Mr. Sani Usman said, “This new station is a step further in the expansion of our retail fuel business. Hyde sources the highest quality products from highly reputable companies which are stored in own and 3rd -party terminals for onward distribution to Hyde Outlets under strict quality control processes and procedures.

We plan to expand our retail footprints across the country with the next area of entry being the South-East geopolitical zone of the country. By the end of 2018, we would have increased the number of our retail outlets to 10”.

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People in Peaceful Countries more Pessimistic about Peace Prospects than Those in Conflict Zones- According to New Poll

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People in more peaceful countries are more pessimistic about prospects for peace than those in conflict environments, according to a survey of 15 countries commissioned by International Alert and the British Council.

 

The Peace Perceptions Poll 2018, conducted in partnership with global polling agency RIWI, asked people around the world about their perceptions of peace and conflict.

 

It found that the UK topped the list of pessimistic countries, followed by Brazil, the US and Hungary. 40% of respondents in the UK said prospects for peace and security in their country will get worse in the next five years, making them more negative than those living in conflict areas, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 

Across the world, ‘lack of jobs and ability to provide for one’s family’ was seen as the main reason that would push people to violent action.

 

This was followed by a ‘sense of injustice’ and a ‘need to improve one’s social status’. The poll also found that terrorism and criminal violence are people’s top security concerns globally.

 

Over 110,000 people participated in the survey, which was carried out online in Brazil, Colombia, DRC, Hungary, India, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, with targeted polling separately undertaken in Northern Ireland.

 

83% of global respondents said having political influence was fundamental for peace and security, with 90% saying the same about access to economic opportunities.

 

People in DRC and South Africa felt the highest levels of political exclusion, with 50% and 44% of those polled respectively saying they are less able to influence the political decisions that affect them, compared to five years ago. This was followed by the UK (41%), Hungary (40%) and the US (37%).

 

Where people felt they had less political influence, they predominantly blamed it on ‘corruption and bribery’ in politics. This was most strongly felt in South Africa, Ukraine and Nigeria.

 

Those who thought they had more political influence attributed it extensively to social media and technology, which ranked top with 28% choosing it.

 

Interestingly, those who felt they had least access to economic opportunities lived in middle- to high-income countries, including Hungary, Ukraine, the UK, Lebanon, the US and South Africa.

 

Most respondents said the most effective way to create long-term peace was through ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’ (27%), followed by ‘supporting societies and communities to resolve conflict peacefully’ (26%).

 

Asked where their governments should spend more to promote peace, the top response was ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’, followed by ‘teaching peace, tolerance and conflict resolution in schools’.

 

Globally, military interventions had the least support, with only 9%selecting it.

 

Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert said: “At a time when conflict is on the rise, the poll shows strong popular support for peacebuilding approaches, which focus on dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place.

 

“The public clearly understand what is needed to build peace. People have crisis fatigue – they want long-term solutions.

 

“Politicians should focus on how to break the cycle of violence by investing more in peacebuilding.”

 

Professor Jo Beall, Director Education and Society, British Council said: “Positive peacebuilding is not just the absence of violent conflict, but the rebuilding of trust and the restoration of relationships that serve the needs of the whole population.

 

“In seeking to understand people’s experience of conflict, and their aspirations for peace, we believe these findings will be useful for leaders and policy-makers facing up to the challenges of peacebuilding.”

 

 

 

 

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