Deep Dive: Electronic Balloting is our best bet at fixing Nigerian elections

Elections

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, it is imperative to create conversations that are targeted towards not only ensuring a free and fair election, but also ensuring a seamless and hassle-free election. While a few Nigerians, old and young may appear oblivious to the need for conversations as such, a few Nigerians are looking ahead in time and exploring different ways to ensuring the smooth run of the coming general elections.

The Town Hall’s ‘Fixing Nigerian Elections’ debate organized by YIAGA Africa and supported by The European Union, Channels Television and a host of other organizations is one of the few circles creating awareness on the need for reforms in our electrical process. Addressing election security, balloting processes, and the safety of citizens and electoral actors in this debate had matters discussed by panelists who shared their ideas and opinions on the needed reform for each issue raised.

On the issue of the balloting process and the need for electronic balloting which ultimately lead to a seamless and hassle-free electoral process, Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, shared that while there may be a lot of things that should be modified in the electoral process the need for technology is one thing will go a long way to not only ensuring a seamless process during elections but also will ensure fairness in these processes.

Prof. Yakubu also pointed out that there has been noticeable progress in the introduction of technology in the balloting process as he drew attention to the biometric registration of voters in 2010. While he explained that there are rooms for improvements in this technology, he also pointed out other problems that electronic balloting has created.

Sharing the 2015 electoral act that empowers the commission to use more technology during elections, the chairman pointed out that improved technologies would be in place for future elections as he mentioned the coming Anambra elections in 2021 even as he shared some limitations to the electoral act.

Reacting to these points as it concerns electronic balloting, many Nigerians agreed to the idea that one of the major problems of the Nigerian election process is the absence of working technology. Views from other members of the debate also address the points raised by the INEC chairman.

Many Nigerians who followed the conversation with the #FixElectionNg pointed out other issues that needed to be fixed, however, the greater number shared that electronic balloting and the introduction of working technology will go a long way to solve other problems that need fixing in our electoral system. The consensus from the Townhall affirms a position YIAGA Nigeria and the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign has been preaching; the completion of the electoral reform by December 2020 is vital to transforming the electoral process for Nigeria.

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