• Monday, July 15, 2024
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2023: Nigeria must adopt electronic voting to avoid crisis – Chekwas Okorie

2023: Nigeria must adopt electronic voting to avoid crisis – Chekwa Okorie

Chekwas Okorie, national chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), has said that Nigeria must amend the Electoral Act to accommodate electronic voting in the 2023 general election, saying that the off-season elections have shown that the country could face a serious crisis if the status quo remains.

In recent times, elections in Nigeria are conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through the use of card reader. But elections across Nigeria have been marred by ballot box snatching, voters’ inducement, violence, and manipulation of the election results largely due to desperation by politicians to win at all cost.

Just before the 2019 general election, President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to sign the amended Electoral Act empowering

INEC to conduct and transmit the election results electronically.

However, amid reported violence which characterised recent off-season elections in some states, there has been renewed outcry from stakeholders for the amendment of the law to accommodate electronic voting.

Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy Senate President, recently introduced a bill to start the process for a comprehensive amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.

Read also: I would have resigned, if I were Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman – Shelle

Speaking in an interview with Businessday, Monday, Okorie noted that the country risked the danger of falling into electoral crisis and anarchy in 2023 if the agitation of Nigerians was ignored.

“That is the only way you can eliminate thuggery and a large percentage of the violence in the system. People can vote with their phones and laptops.

“INEC has enough resources and equipment to do that. If we want to eliminate crises and war in 2023 we have to adopt electronic voting.

“The off-season elections have not given us much hope; they have been a major breaker for Nigeria; we must try to avoid this,” Okorie said.

The national chairman said that his party had suggested to the National Assembly a comprehensive review of the Electoral Act since 2012 and was ignored by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

He, however, wondered why elections in Nigeria had become the more controversial and violence-prone, warning that government and stakeholders must rise up and save the nation’s democracy

“We want a constitutional amendment to accommodate electronic voting and UPP campaigned for that since 2012 but it was turned down by that administration.

“We want a full constitutional amendment that would eliminate the card reader and bring about full electronic voting and eliminate the transmission of result through the sheet.

“Ballot box snatching would be eliminated. So, election results can be sent directly from the polling units to sever. The wards and INEC office in Abuja can see it. It becomes easy to have actual voting and distribution of results.

“We don’t need to wait for INEC to announce results; through this, we can say this person would win an election because of the polling that was done earlier,” Okorie added.