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Nigeria: Buhari pushes digital to top of country's tech agenda

Nigeria , 27 Nov 2015

Nigeria: Buhari pushes digital to top of country's tech agenda

The Nigerian government is planning to achieve 100% digital television penetration across the country before the end of next year and also intends to expand the scope of technology in future elections.

On the 100% digital television goal, President Muhammadu Buhari predicted that Nigeria will emerge as the 'biggest nation in Africa' within the next five years.

The president who was represented by the country's minister for information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the present government is committed to building a vibrant media industry.

"We will use the digital switchover to diversify the provision of channels and local content for the benefit of all Nigerians," he said.

Buhari said by the year 2020, sub-Saharan Africa will have 46.46 million primary digital television homes and Nigeria will be the largest nation on the continent with an estimated 9.7 million users.

The government has also indicated that technology will play a greater role in the country's election process going forward.

The immediate past chairman of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has urged stakeholders in Nigeria's electoral system to consolidate and expand the scope of the use of technology.

In his keynote address at the e-Nigeria 2015 Conference, organised recently by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Jega said Nigeria needs to engender greater transparency and effectiveness in delivering free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in the country.

He said, "The 2015 general elections point to the direction of enhancing the use of technology for greater effectiveness of the electoral processes. Use of technology is not without its challenges. Indeed, the challenges could be enormous. But they are not insurmountable, and they in no way diminish the need for improved and increased use of technology in our electoral system.

"INEC has had to grapple with all these in past five years or so, as it deployed technology in the electoral process leading to the 2015 general elections. No doubt, in the years to come, as we strive to consolidate the discernable gains of the use of Permanent Voters Cardsd (PVCs) and Card Readers, in the Nigerian electoral processes, a lot of attention needs to be focused on addressing these challenges."

Nigeria's minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, ‎said ICT has become an indispensable tool in achieving a successful and credible electoral system in the country.

According to him, given the high expectation of Nigerians for meaningful change and development in the electoral system, the ICT industry should marshal out new plans that would strengthen the nation's electoral system through the deployment of technology in line with the best practices as obtained across the world.

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