…Want Review of Electoral Act to Provide for Electronic Voting …Decry Thuggery, Violence, Vote Buying A former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, National Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secundus and some women politicians have strongly called on the National Assembly to include electronic voting as part of the amendment to the
…Want Review of Electoral Act to Provide for Electronic Voting
…Decry Thuggery, Violence, Vote Buying
A former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, National Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secundus and some women politicians have strongly called on the National Assembly to include electronic voting as part of the amendment to the Electoral Act. They also slam the menace of thuggery, violence, vote buying and ballot snatching that have now become the bane of our election.
Osoba, who spoke at an event marking 160 years of journalism in Nigeria in Abeokuta, said that Nigeria had no excuse not to digitalise its voting process.
The veteran journalist spoke on the theme: “Re-inventing the Practice of Journalism in Nigeria, with Emphasis on the Influence of Social Media”.
According to him, it is regrettable that the electoral process in Nigeria has been bastardised.
He renewed the call for the amendment of the Electoral Act, saying that vote buying, rigging and ballot box snatching were among the challenges plaguing the country’s electoral process.
“I’m shocked at what we have now (electoral process) because it is worse than corruption,” Osoba said.
The former governor stated that the inclusion of electronic voting in the Electoral Act would put an end to electoral fraud in Nigeria.
“The day we stop selling our votes, that day, we will get it right and start electing the right people into political offices.
“That is why I have been pushing for the amendment to the Electoral Act. Let us all support and fight for the review of the Act. Let us fight for electronic voting.
“We need to go electronic in voting in Nigeria because Ghana has gone electronic; Kenyan has gone electronic; we have no excuse not to get digital in our electoral process; the day of analogue system is gone,” Osoba said.
He attributed the falling standard of journalism in Nigeria to poor remuneration of journalists, saying it was unpardonable that employers should owe salaries.
“It is an offence unto God and even man,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Ogun State Governor, Mr Dapo Abiodun urged veteran journalists to use the celebration to appraise the influence of the social media on journalism practice.
The governor disagreed with calls for death sentence for those who abused the social media as a tool for information dissemination.
He added that the proposed social media law before the National Assembly should not be seen as targeting or gagging the critical media or curtailing free speech.
Rather, the governor said that the law should be seen as a way of holding journalists accountable for their reports.
He, however, bemoaned the rise of malicious and deliberate misinformation by some unethical social media users.
Abiodun urged journalists to always guard against forces seeking to use them for their selfish interests, saying that it was important to distance the profession from partisanship.
In the same vein, the PDP National Chairman, Mr Uche Secundus has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to initiate Electoral Act amendment that would legalise electronic voting in the country.
He gave the advice at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja when he received INEC delegation from the Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) Department.
Secondus also advised INEC to initiate the amendment to remove the influence of the military on election day.
He said that in spite of a standing lawful court ruling that the military should be kept at a distance during elections as secondary security, the military had continued to be involved in the electoral process.
Secondus said that the PDP was not disposed to any electoral law that would prevent manipulating the electoral system.
“We in PDP expect INEC to be at the forefront of the process to have legal frame work for the conduct of free, fair and credible election.
“Such legal framework should address the issue of security, electronic voting and collation of results and punishment for electoral offenders.
“The survival and sustenance of our democracy rest squarely on the integrity of the electoral commission which will derive from the character and the impartiality of its operatives.
“Free, fair and credible election is exactly what PDP and indeed global democracy demand and expect from INEC,” he said.
Secondus also advised INEC to go back to the drawing board and ensure that it fully implemented the electoral model Nigeria copied from the U.S.
Secondus, however, said that it has not been easy for PDP as an opposition party to operate.
Speaking, the leader of the delegation and INEC Deputy Director of EPM, Mr Musa Husunu, said they were at the PDP headquarters on a routine verification exercise on registered political parties.
Husunu said that eight teams were deployed by INEC to register political parties to verify evidence of their national secretariat in Abuja as specified by the Electoral Act.
He said that the Commission was also interested in five copies of party constitution, list of national executive committee members, physical presence of national working committee members and party’s book of accounts.
The deputy director pledged that the delegation would communicate the party’s concern to INEC.
Also women politicians who gathered at a conference in Ado Ekiti, to review the performance of female candidates in the 2019 general election, called for the reform of the electoral process to criminalise all forms of electoral malpractices including thuggery, vote buying and ballot snatching, arguing that these incidents negate women political participation.
Calling for a de-militarisation of the voting environment, they also demanded for a free, fair and transparent electoral process. Drawn from different political parties in Ekiti and Osun states, the women also wanted the general populace to be sensitised about the gains of female participation in the political process.
Making a case for the passage of the Gender Equality Bill which provides 35 per cent of elective and appointive position for women, they stressed the need for the empowerment of women to prepare them for the electoral process. While calling for more leadership and training opportunities and platforms for women, they implored successful women to endeavour to mentor other women.