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By Daniel Dafe
Students of Delta State University, Abraka, yesterday voted in their choice candidates to pilot the affairs of the Student Union Government (SUG) for the 2019/2020 academic session, as the institution kickstated the use of electronic voting systems during students’ union elections.
The said election adjudged to be transparent, free, fair and credible, saw students for the first time casting their votes online from the comfort of their homes, using smart phones, computers, ipads and other relevant electronic gadgets.
According to the Dean of Students, Professor Augustus Atubi, “DELSU has been able to establish that the institution is the first state university in Nigeria to have students cast their votes online during SUG elections.”
However, he added: “Some of the students were not aware of this new development. Next year, we will fully sensitise students on the e-voting arrangement. Henceforth during orientation exercises for new students, we will use the medium to also school them on this innovation.”
On why the results online at a certain point was removed, he said it was deliberate to allow the students see how the process was going and then block their view because if they saw the whole process from the beginning to the end, then the suspense would have been removed.
He continued: “In 2020 we should be able to capture the votes of 95 to 100 percent of our students. Also, in 2020, we will explore the possibility of allowing voting to commence a day before,” adding that this could commence at midnight by 12 a.m. and run till 12 p.m. the following day.
“Next year elections will be better and more successful,” he averred.
On his part, the Acting Chief Security Officer of the university, Mr. Markson Torugbene said that other universities should emulate DELSU, saying that those who do not know how to do this should come and have an audience with the VC to learn.
Speaking further, he said: “We beefed up our security for any eventualities even though we know that DELSU students are peace loving. But, at the end of the day, we had no much work to do because the process ran smoothly.”
On his part, Comrade Omote Kelly, National Director of Campus Affairs Monitoring, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), commended the school management for the take-off of the e-voting arrangement during SUG elections.
Continuing, he said that at a point they were disturbed when students could no more access the results online, saying that they were however satisfied with the process since those that were leading before this happened emerged winners during the announcement of results.
Furthermore, he called on the university management to improve on the success achieved this year so that the next will be better, stressing that the voting duration needs to be extended.
He called on the newly elected executive members to look at the outgoing leaders and try to do the things they failed to do that they promised DELSU students before they assumed office and at the same time carry out projects that will be beneficial to the students.
Responding to questions about his assessment of the Peretomode-led administration as the VC’s tenure winds down, he said: “I am satisfied with his administration. Academically, DELSU is the fastest growing state university and also ranked as one of the best universities in Nigeria.
“During this administration, we saw massive infrastructural development and discipline in the system. Compare DELSU students then and now and you will observe so many changes. Examination malpractice has reduced drastically and things like students molestation by staff has also reduced.”
In the same vein, the Director of Progammes and Niger Delta Affairs, NANS Zone B, Comrade Oturu Sovereignty, said: “It is a good step to go digital, but many students did not vote. The duration for voting was short. Proper sensitization should be done next time. I observed that many needed to be guided.”
Also responding to questions from journalists, the president-elect, Ojaide Joshua, expressed gratitude to the students that voted for him, noting that the students did well in voting him in.
He promised to with the help of the management tackle issues bordering on the welfare of students.
He described the election as very transparent, saying that the introduction of e-voting has taken care of any possibilities of electoral malpractice.
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