13th January, 2013
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said it is time for the country to embrace electronic voting in order to ensure the integrity of its elections and hand over the elections back to Nigerians instead of the judiciary.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said with electronic voting, the overall cost of elections will be far less; there will be stability in the polity, the atmosphere of war usually associated with elections will disappear and the involvement of the security agencies will be de-emphasized.
It said though 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 Organizations 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.
”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,” ACN said.
The party said even Ghana, which has organised perhaps the best elections in this part of the world, has realized it can no longer continue with manual voting, hence it did not wait for troubles associated with electoral malfeasance to break out before embracing electronic voting during its last general elections in December.
”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 will be hijacked or stuffed,” it sad.
ACN said 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 is totally unacceptable and indeed an anomaly for a nation of 160 million people to 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. It is time to free judges to do their duties and allow Nigerians to play more role in determining who governs them,” it said.