- Published on Sunday, 13 January 2013 13:37
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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has reopened debates on the need to embrace electronic voting starting from the 2015 general elections, saying it will ensure the integrity of the electioneering process and hand it over to Nigerians instead of the judiciary.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party argued that with electronic voting, the overall cost of elections would be far less, there would be stability in the polity, the atmosphere of war usually associated with elections would disappear, and the involvement of the security agencies would be deemphasized.
The party added that although Section 52 Sub-section 2 of the Electoral Act bans the use of electronic voting '”for the time being,” the National Assembly should move quickly to amend that part of the law while the Federal Government should provide INEC with all the resources needed to make electronic voting a reality.
“We assure INEC of our full support towards using electronic voting in 2015. We also appeal to all other political parties, civil society organisations and indeed all Nigerians to join us in pushing for a system that will eliminate the role of thugs and sideline vote thieves during our elections, in addition to making our elections free, fair and credible,” he said.
“While electronic voting is not a magic wand, it is the surest way yet for Nigeria to join the league of countries that have wiped out electoral fraud, which is the worst form of corruption. It is also the best way to hand over Nigeria's elections back to Nigerians instead of having the judiciary determine who wins what contest. Two years is a long enough time to achieve this,'”
It observed that even a county like Ghana, which has organised perhaps the best elections in this part of the world, has realised it can no longer continue with manual voting and did not wait for the outbreak of troubles associated with electoral malfeasance before embracing electronic voting during its last general elections in.
“It is not just enough for us to sit back in envy while the world hails our neighbour, Ghana, for being a model in electoral rectitude and participatory democracy. Let us ask ourselves what we need to do differently to shed our toga of electoral fraud and brigandage.
“Yes, there were some hiccups during the last elections in Ghana, which were conducted with electronic voting. But Ghana quickly moved to correct whatever problems came up. The system also allowed Ghana to extend voting without fearing that ballot boxes would be hijacked or stuffed.
“While it is true that Ghana's last presidential election that was conducted with electronic voting is currently being challenged in court, to the best of our knowledge, that's the only case being contested in court since the elections ended. Compare this with Nigeria, where many cases emanating from the 2011 elections are still in court, almost two years later!”
It described as totally unacceptable, and indeed an anomaly that a nation of 160m people would hand over the determination of its elections to a few 'wise' men and women on the bench.
“One result of Nigeria's successive failed elections is that it has brought corruption to the judiciary,” the statement added. “It is time to free judges to do their duties and allow Nigerians to play better roles in determining who governs them.”