Centre for Cyberspace Studies tasks INEC to Collaborate with Others to Ensure Hitch-Free Elections

The Three-Day National Workshop on Election Infrastructure organised by the Centre for Cyberspace Studies, Nasarawa State University Keffi from the 28th -30th November 2022 at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja has ended with a communiqué jointly signed by Chris Uwaje, Chairman, WwC  and Uche M. Mbanaso, PhD. Associate Professor and Executive Director,  Centre for Cyberspace, NSUK.


The Centre for Cyberspace Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi collaborated with many technical partners to host a three-day National Workshop on Election Infrastructure from 28th 30th December 2022 at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.

The workshop which has the theme: Enriching the Values of Free, Fair, Inclusive, Credible and Transparent Elections was declared open by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Aliu Ibrahim Pantami.

In his speech, the Minister, who was the special guest of honour, commended the organisers for providing a strategic platform that will enhance stakeholder engagement to ensure that the digital provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 deliver the expected credible, free, fair, inclusive and transparent election in 2023.

The central objective of the Workshop was to avail stakeholders in the Nigerian electoral process an opportunity to brainstorm on the concerns, challenges, and desirable interventions needed to enhance effective preparations and delivery of successful 2023 National elections.

This is against the need to balance the benefits of digital transformation and the usual negative effects of cybercrime and cyberwarfare directed against election infrastructure.

Among the dignitaries at the event were Professor Suleiman Bala Mohammed, Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University; His Royal Highness, Dr David Wodi Tukura, the Aguma of Bassa Turunku Chiefdom in Nasarawa State. Prof. Mohammed Ajiya, President DBI, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON); Prof. Yakubu Aliyu, a US-based Cybersecurity expert; Engr. Mohammed Rudman, Chief Executive Officer, of Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) and President NiRA; Dr Daniel Omofoman, Executive Director of African Electoral Integrity Initiative; DCP Uche Ifeanyi Henry, Director NPF-NCCC, Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre, Force Headquarters.

Others were representatives of the Chief Executive Officers of the Nigeria Communications Commission, Department of State Security Service, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Defence Space Administration (DSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The workshop which was conducted in a hybrid mode (in-person and virtual) had a total of 162 national and international participants and featured over thirty-five top-level resource persons from academia and industry across the globe.

The keynote address was delivered by a cybersecurity expert and pioneer Commandant of the EFCC Academy, His Royal Highness, Dr David Wodi Tukura, who is also the Aguma of Bassa Turunku Chiefdom in Nasarawa State. Professor Tonnie Iredia, former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) delivered the lead paper which appraised the 2022 Electoral Act.

Other resource persons include Engr. Lucky Okehigbemen (Germany); Dr Uche M. Mbanaso, Executive Director, Centre for Cyberspace Studies, NSUK; Dr Kenneth Okereafor, and Dr Steven Bassey. Professors: Francisca Ogwurleka (University of Abuja), Emmanuel Dandaura (Executive Director, Institute of Strategic and Development Communication); Mohammed Ajiya; Yusuf Yakubu (USA).

In his welcome address, the Convener and ViceChancellor of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof. Suleiman Bala Mohammed thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for the boldness to reform the Nigerian electoral process to include the use of digital resources like BVAS and IReV for the first time.

He noted that “Mr. President’s intention to entrench a legacy of credible, fair, free, inclusive and transparent election in 2023 is the highest demonstration of patriotism and statesmanship”.

He stated that the Workshop was primarily conceived by the “Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), to support this noble vision of Mr. President”.

The VC also commended the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu and his team, for their enthusiasm and resilience to wholesomely implement the Electoral Act 2022 without compromise.


At the end of the three-day event, the participants observed as follows:

  1. Currently, the nation is faced with the challenges of stable and reliable broadband internet connectivity across the country to support effective digital electoral processes;
  2. The interoperability challenges in synchronizing the IPv4 and the IPv6 networks remain unresolved;

iii.       The cybersecurity posture of the nation has avoidable gaps, especially in the area of capacity building to create a pipeline of cybersecurity workforce that is very knowledgeable and skilled to enhance the protection of national cyberspace. Foreign interferences were raised especially, the potential for foreign supply chains to leverage on ‘vendor trust’ to infiltrate digital election infrastructure unnoticeably;


  1. Stakeholders are persuaded that owing to the expansive functions under its enabling Act, as amended, INEC is overstretched, hence unable to fully discharge its functions like effective voter education and control of election offences;
  2. The use of proprietary ICT products from vendors located in foreign countries as part of Nigerian election infrastructure increases the surface vulnerabilities that foreign adversaries may exploit to compromise the integrity of Nigerian elections;
  3. Stakeholders decry the non-utilization of the data being collected by statutory bodies like the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the National Population Commission (NPC) to evolve a seamless voter register. By her mandate, the NPC maintains a record of births and deaths so it should know which citizen has come of voting age or is deceased.


Given the foregoing, the participants recommend the following:

  1. To ensure hitch-free elections, INEC should work closely with the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Galaxy Backbone, NigComsat, and other private internet broadband providers to improve broadband connectivity and deploy and protect robust seamless network infrastructure across the country, to extend reliable connectivity to remote areas;
  2. The NCC and NITDA should facilitate full implementation of IPv6 and ensure timely synchronization with IPv4 to enhance interoperability of digital infrastructure elements;

iii.       The Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) currently in charge of Cybersecurity should designate some tertiary institutions as Centres of Excellence (CoE) in Cybersecurity to advance capacity building, research and development (R&D) as coordinated and measurable measures to improve national cybersecurity posture. This buttresses the urgent need for a pipeline of cybersecurity workforce that is very knowledgeable and skilled to enhance the protection of national cyberspace.

  1. Stakeholders recommend the streamlining of INEC functions into the following complimentary Election Management Bodies (EMBs) to allow INEC to focus on the conduct of elections:

(a) Electoral Offences Commission to handle issues of electoral misconduct and crimes;

(b) Digital Election Technology Infrastructure Commission to continuously research, design, develop and deploy homegrown digital election components to be used by INEC;

(c) Voters Education and Awareness function currently under INEC should be transferred to the National Orientation Agency (NOA) which has more established structures for mass mobilization and education in all local governments areas in Nigeria. Separating these related duties in the management of Nigeria’s elections will improve efficiency and bequeath the nation a more reliable, effective, transparent and efficient electoral process.

  1. NITDA should be empowered to improve its local content development mandate to reduce the dependence on imported ICT products and solutions by INEC and mitigate possible foreign interferences in the nation’s digital space. NITDA can achieve this by using tertiary institutions for the domestication of Open Stack Architecture products and solutions to enhance the cybersecurity of products and solutions deployed to critical national infrastructure.
  2. On potential foreign interferences, there is the need for effective collaboration and synergy between the INEC Cybersecurity team, and security and law enforcement agencies in the area of cybersecurity intelligence sharing, vetting of foreign vendors, and protection of digital election infrastructure as critical national information infrastructure (CNII).

vii. Government should strengthen the NPC and NIMC (possibly merge the two organisations for effective citizens’ dada) database management systems, to produce more reliable citizens’ data which should feed the INEC voter register in the 2027 elections. Citizens that have attained the minimum voting age of 18 years could be automatically enrolled as voters, in the same way that the database should be cleaned up regularly to deactivate deceased citizens seamlessly. This equally, will save huge costs in governance in the face of scarcity of funds.


In conclusion, workshop participants thanked the Nasarawa State University for the novel and bold initiative; and further encouraged the Centre for Cyberspace Studies to engage INEC and other relevant stakeholders including the media, to roll out the Workshop in all 36 States of the Federation to sustain the process of identifying, analysing and designing practicable solutions to observed vulnerabilities and threats in the election infrastructure to guarantee free, fair, inclusive, credible and transparent elections in Nigeria.


Chris Uwaje, Chairman, WwC                           Uche M. Mbanaso, PhD. Associate Professor and                                                                                                      Executive Director,  Centre for Cyberspace, NSUK.

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