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  • Updated: November 23, 2022

2023: How Space Technology Can Support Free, Fair Elections - NASRDA

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has stated that the ability to monitor elections for even minor irregularities using space technology is possible.

In an interview on Wednesday, Dr Bonaventure Okere, the director of NASRDA's Center for Basic Space Science (CBSS), made the remark.

Okere said that space technology supports every aspect of human existence while not undermining the electoral umpire's efforts.

According to the director, satellite technology could be used as an instrument to accurately define polling units in accordance with the settlement in any given location.

“By deploying space technology, we can monitor elections on a real-time basis using drones and intrusion alert systems that can relay images and voice notes to the control centre.

“By the use of electronic voting and synchronisation of databases, will ensure that anyone can vote from any polling unit.

“It will ensure minute-by-minute monitoring of results and with this, there won’t be a need for collation of results because results will be displayed, tabulated and summed as votes are cast,’’ he said.

Okere added that the deployment of drones during polls could aid in the detection of irregularities.

The election commission may use customised Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and Point of Sale (POS) for the electorate, Okere continued.

He added that the Personal Identification Number (PIN) of the user will prevent card manipulation.

Regarding current research projects undertaken by the centre, Okere stated that the facility has created mobile radio telescopes and optical telescopes for astronomy research.

“The telescope, when commercialised, will not be expensive, it should cost between N10,000 to N20,000.

“It was produced without a motorised stand which makes it easier to use and it is 80mm, bigger than the regular telescopes and has a better view,’’ he said.

The director pleaded with the Federal Government to support the local project, pointing out that mass-producing it might bring in some money for the nation.

The Ministries of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation may opt to make this available to every school, according to Okere.

“Basic science requires moon viewing, viewing of things around the Earth, the moon, stars, and the planet generally, so the telescope can be used to monitor it.’’

He continued by saying that they had created spin-off products for space science research such Automatic Irrigation Systems (AIS), Intrusion Alert Systems, High Precision GPS, Gravimeter and Magnetometer, among others.

“Through the organisation of space science education, workshops and outreach activities, CBSS pioneered the Pan African School for emerging Astronomers (PASEA).

“Currently, CBSS is collaborating with the East African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development, South African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development and the Botswana International University of Science Technology.

“The collaboration led to the award of a European Union (EU) mobility grant for students and lecturers in Africa.

“The grant is under Pan African Planetary and Space Science Network (PAPSSN) and three Nigerian students are on scholarship in various universities in Africa through this grant,’’ Okere said.

He said that this collaboration has resulted in the awarding of two more scholarships for student and professor mobility across Europe.

Okere stated that the grants were also known as Erasmus Mundi mobility grants and FAST4FUTURE grants.

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