• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Experts predict end to election rigging in Nigeria

Experts predict end to election rigging in Nigeria

Some electoral experts in the country have predicted an end to election rigging in Nigeria and urged the citizens never to give up participating in elections.

“Nigerians should continue to participate in elections, be calm and vigilant,” Emeka Ononamadu, immediate past Enugu Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said.

He also called for the continuous building of electoral institutions and improving the laws guiding elections.

He spoke in Asaba, Delta State capital, during the recent electoral stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) ahead of the last governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections.

Ononamadu, who was answering questions on how to end rigging in the country, said that though it may seem impossible to stop people from committing crime, building of strong institutions could help stop them.

‘We have gone far already with the introduction of Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which enables free, fair and credible elections. You can stop people from rigging election if you build institutions to be so strong to withstand undue pressures,” he said.

He also said that it was important to look at the trajectory, for instance, how the electoral commission was constituted and the intergrity of those working in the commission.

He harped on the need for the media and political parties to be very objective, by playing down fake news and playing up real news.

He recalled the past when ballot stuffing and snatching were the order of the day during elections.

“At a point, it was wholesale purchase of collation; we moved from smart card reader and now we are in the era of BVAS where we would want to see results. We were far away but now at the finishing line and requires more efforts to the end.

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“Now, for you to understand that rigging will soon stop, you can see that the recent presidential election result has changed the strategy of campaigning. They (politicians) are now moving out to markets and public places begging people to vote for them. They are no longer even trusting the power of vote-buying which is the advantage the BVAS is giving Nigerians.

“The only thing remaining is to be steadfast and making sure that after they have voted, the votes will count.
Continuous voter participation in election will discourage rigging but when they rig and you become sad and bored, you are giving them more strength to continue rigging.

“When every registered voter comes out on election day to vote, which other number is left for them to rig? There will be none. So, participation, vigilance, building our institutions and improving on the laws guiding the nation will put an end to the issue of rigging,” he said.

Other electoral experts at the occasion also lent their voices, saying there is hope for the country and its people despite the rigging of elections that had been witnessed recently. They posited that development does not just happen in a day but a gradual process.

Faith Nwadishi, the executive director of CTA, said that the organisation deployed 2000 observers across the country, who sent in reports in real time; making it possible for CTA to have firsthand information as to what happened on election day.