Federal University Lokoja (FUL) under the leadership of Prof. Angela Freeman Miri has introduced an Electronic Voting System for the conduct of elections in the University starting with the just concluded Students Union (SU) elections held on Friday, 25th October, 2019 at the University ICT Center, Adankolo Campus.
The elections which many adjudged as peaceful, transparent, free and fair, were conducted by an Electoral Committee set up by the Students’ Union to oversee the entire process in collaboration with the MIS Team that developed the software used for the e-voting. Kehinde Olorunmagba popularly known as OLUWATALLEST, a 300L student from the Department of History and International Studies was elected President of the Students’ Union – FUL Chapter with total votes of 741 to defeat his closest opponent, Adams Adeiza Matthew (KENT) who polled 624 votes.
The innovation, which many described as first of its kind in the University, was highly commendable. This, no doubt, is in line with the Vice-Chancellor’s clear-cut vision of making FUL one of the leading tertiary institutions in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which was clearly spelt out in her Vision Document submitted to the 2nd Governing Council of the University upon assumption of office in 2016. It would be recalled also, that as part of her efforts toward achieving this lofty vision, the Vice-Chancellor had in May 2019 inaugurated an ICT Standing Committee headed by the University Librarian, Dr. Ezra Gbaje Shiloba with the mandate of evolving and sustaining ICT Strategic Plan and commence implementation of specific strategies for the development of ICT in the University.
In his remarks, the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Joseph Abel who spoke during the exercise said that the introduction of the e-voting system became imperative due to evolving societal changes and the need for the University to keep pace with technological advancement. Speaking further, the Dean maintained that due to the increase in students’ population, the new system will save cost and reduce the number of hours spent in sorting and counting ballot papers which characterized the earlier manual voting system.
Dr. Abel who was highly elated that the innovation came during his time as the Dean, thanked the University Management for the usual support and encouragement that led to the landmark achievement. He equally thanked the ICT Directorate headed by Dr. Edgar Osaghae for developing the software solution and providing an enabling environment for the exercise and Members of the Students’ Union for the orderly manner in which they conducted themselves during the accreditation and voting exercise, as well as the Chief Security Officer of the University, Mr. Francis Okeme for providing the necessary security supports in ensuring that the elections were peaceful.
According to Mr. Blessing Emmanuel Oladele, a Principal Programmer in the ICT Directorate, about 90 percent of the students could navigate easily through the voting system as most of them were already familiar with the Computer-Based Test (CBT) used during JAMB UTME and the University’s Post UTME, stressing that the e-voting system has been tested and trusted.
Like every other novel idea, the implementation of the e-voting system is not without its attendant challenges but it is hoped that more efforts would be channeled toward improving and sustaining the new system through adequate deployment and upgrade of the needed ICT infrastructure, continuous training and retraining of ICT Staff, ensuring stable power supply and providing the needed logistics. With this development, it is expected that the e-Voting System would be adopted for all subsequent elections in the University.
The following are the new Executive of the Students’ Union who emerged after the keenly contested elections:
- Kehinde Olorunmagba (OLUWATALLEST) – President
- Jemilat Jumai Salihu – Vice President
- David Ojonugwa – General Secretary
- Sarah Mercy Ebere Eze – Assistant General Secretary
- Ahmed Adebayo Abdulraheem (AMEDA) – Treasurer
- Samuel Richard Kayode (RICHMOND) – Financial Secretary
- Chinedu Ifejika (CHIDO) – Director of Social
- Miracle Obiora – Director of Sports
- Elizabeth Temitope Ajibade – Director of Welfare
- Abdulraheem Omeiza Friday (SIR RAJI) – Director of Transport
- Patrick Ahmadu Sule – Public Relation Officer
- Victor Okonkwo – Provost Marshal