Foremost opposition party in Nigeria, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said it is time for the country to embrace electronic voting so as to reduce cost and ensure the integrity of elections.
The party noted that such moves would help to hand over the elections back to Nigerians instead of the judiciary.
In a statement 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.
Though Section 52 sub-section 2 of the Electoral Act bans the use of electronic voting for the time being, ACN tasked the National Assembly to move quickly and amend that part of the law, while the federal government should provide Independent National Electoral Commission (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.
”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 noted that even Ghana, which has organised perhaps the best elections in Africa, has realised 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”, the party said.
”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.