….Nigeria nor ripe for electronic voting, INEC insists …..it’ll stop thuggery, electoral violence—Army, NSCDC
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA-There was a sharp difference between the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and key security agencies on Monday over the preparation or otherwise of Nigeria to embrace electronic voting system in the 2023 elections
While the electoral commission, through its National Commissioner, Prof. Okey Ibeanu, kept up that the country was not ready for the process, refering to what it named as absence of “robust technical and physical infrastructure”, both the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, couldn’t help contradicting the commission, demanding that the presentation of electronic voting system/e-collation was the best way to stop electoral violence and rigging of elections.
The exchanges occurred at Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Stakeholders Forum on Future of Elections in Nigeria which was organised in Abuja with support of the British Department for International Development, DFID.
In his remarks, the INEC Commissioner, Prof. Ibeanu, noted that election in Nigeria is increasingly becoming more complex despite the minimal utilization of technologies in the electoral processes.
He contended that there are key factors that must be considered before e-voting could adequately take-off in Nigeria, among which included power supply and the capacity of electorates to overcome their “fundamental trust issues in the system”, by believing in the ability of the electoral discretionary body to work freely without outer controls.
“Each time we are requesting more ‘complexification’ of our election, we ought to remember that our infrastructure may not be satisfactory to deal with the process”, he contended.
Nonetheless, in his introduction, the representative of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Felix Omoigui, contended that electronic casting a ballot was the main path forward for subsequent elections.
According to him, “Situations where thugs abduct INEC officials at collation centres or en-route to collation centres will be largely nipped in the bud” if the system is adopted