The attention of the Citizens Center for Democratic Governance has been drawn to the high awareness level that trailed the introduction of electronic voting (e-voting) in Kaduna state, which many persons and groups have described as a historic milestone for Nigeria and Africa.
The fact is that electronic voting happened, but the collation of votes was manual. There are several questions to ask, before agitating for a national replication of this seeming unsuccessful venture.
These questions are: Has the e-voting machine address allegations that surrounds issues related to falsification of election results? Secondly, does the e-voting machine aid faster collation and declaration of results? And lastly, does it deal with the integrity question associated with elections in Nigeria? Without accurate answers, we might be heading for rocky waters if we adopt the machines for the 2019 general elections.
We appreciate the attempt by Dr. Saratu Dikko-Audu led Kaduna state independent electoral commission (KADSIEC) to set a record, because we believe that technology can be used to curb electoral malpractices and ensure a more speedy collation and result declaration process. However, we did not appreciate the part where most of the public statement as regards the election came from the Governor of the state which shouldn’t be so. Is KADSIEC no longer independent?
An appraisal of the just concluded Local Government Elections in Kaduna state shows, that KASIEC performed woefully in an election perverted by several forms of irregularities ranging from: the delay in collating and releasing election results which lasted about four days in the case of Sanga LGA, suspension of elections in some areas were opposition were alleged to be leading, notably Kajuri and Kaduna south were results came inconclusive; disappearances of returning officers; change of figures, leading to imposition of results, and the general question of integrity that followed the election.
Although, this is just to mention a few. As the case of Kenya and the United States of America comes handy as countries that have had it rough with e-election, we will appreciate that INEC be very careful in its introduction of technology towards future elections in Nigeria.
El-Rufia and his cohorts have started to give credence to their actions via sponsored media outings to advice that “Nigeria can adopt electronic voting for 2019 general elections” but we disagree. Even if it ever happens, it cannot be for 2019. We go with the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who has assured Nigerians that though technology has come to stay, INEC will only adopt it incrementally and gradually as efficiency permits.
We call on Nigerians from all works of life to understand that conducting e-voting without e-collation to fast track and lay to rest the issue of delay and manipulation in election results, is a like a travel on a spot. We cannot risk the consequences of a hurriedly planned unknown venture. Nigerians might want to start considering something better for 2023 general elections.
We call on civil society organizations, faith base associations, and tribal groups to kick against any of such rise or agitation and unproductive venture that will lead to a waste of our collective resource, produce no result and endanger our democracy at last.