Problem with locally-made machines

Features & Reports


On the 6th of June 2017, the Minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu unveiled an electronic voting machine on behalf of the ministry. The voting machine was originally announced in January, and is reportedly made locally by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

According to the minister, the machine is expected to eliminate all the hurdles that have come to be associated with electronic voting in Nigeria. The voting machine is expected to collate results immediately after the elections and declare a winner.

This innovation for e-governance in Nigeria is both exciting and laudable. But there is a nagging fear that this wonderful initiative may have adverse effects. Not considering the fact that the locally “Made in Nigeria” tag is more appropriately “Assembled in Nigeria”; we have to start somewhere right? Right!

The main concern is that introducing a “new technology” is very likely to balloon the budgetary cost of future general elections to an all time high; especially 2019.

If a traditional electoral process already costs this much, what will be the price of including innovation?

The projected cost will be justified if any part of the machine is truly made in Nigeria considering that the monies will still be funneled back into the economy. But considering that these machines (or their parts) will be imported, is it still right?

There is always a price for innovation especially with technology. In a country like Nigeria where mediocrity is still acceptable and the government is just beginning to get a hang of technology, the price for this one might be paid twice.

Adapted from Techpoint