PGF DG says transmission of election results electronically will enhance election credibility

Agency Report
Dr Salihu Lukman, DIrector-General
Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has said that the passage of the electoral amendment bill by the Senate, will enhance the credibility of elections in the country.
He said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja while reacting to the development, adding that it would also expand the scope of citizens’ participation in politics.
“On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, the Nigerian Senate passed the electoral amendment bill which among others, approved electronic transmission of election results.
“It also compel all political parties in the country to use direct method of conducting party primary for the selection of candidates for electoral contests.
“These are significant decisions, which could potentially enhance the credibility of Nigerian elections and expand the scope of citizens’ participation in politics.
“A critical success factor in terms of whether these decisions would achieve such potential outcomes has to do with capacity of both Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political parties,” he said.
Lukman added that this was especially with regards to developing the needed organisational capacity to administer the new legal framework provided under the amended electoral law.
He noted that with the development, INEC would have the direct responsibility of transmitting all election results electronically.
This, he added would include developing all the technological infrastructure, procurement and installations of all the hardware and software as well as recruitment and training.
He said it should also include the personnel requirement for the electronic transmission of electoral results.
“No doubt, this is a groundbreaking decision given that physical process of transmitting election results from voting areas to collation centres give space for rigging,” he said.
He recalled that since 2011, the introduction of card reader technology for voter accreditation had significantly weaken the capacity of politicians to inflate election results.
He said if the new electoral amendment was passed, the introduction of technology to the process of transmission of electoral results would similarly weaken the capacity of politicians to interfere or manipulate the election during the process of transmission of results.
He commended the passage of the bill, adding that it significantly indicates high measure of responsiveness by Senators.
He expressed hope that the Conference Committee involving members from the House of Representatives would eventually adopt the new amendment and that President Muhammadu Buhari would eventually assent to it.
“Once that is done, the bulk of the work to operationalise the new law to effectively transmit election results from voting areas to collation centres electronically will be the responsibility of INEC.
“Given that INEC’s institutional capacity for deployment of technology during elections has been tested successfully with the introduction of card reader since 2011 elections.
“Nigerians expect that deployment of technology to manage the process of collation of results through electronic transmission of election results commencing with the 2023 election would also be successful,”he said.
Lukman said this would make Nigerian electoral process more credible as electoral litigation due to manipulation of accreditation, litigation arising from alleged manipulation of collation process should be reduced.
He, however, noted that with such development, the only aspect of Nigerian election that would not be technologically driven would be the actual voting.
He said this would mean that some of the challenges bordering on vote buying, which was very rampant would still be there.
He added that it was therefore important to continue to engage the debate about making the Nigerian electoral process more credible based on corresponding provision of electronic voting opportunity as part of the electoral laws.
He, however, comended Senators for the passage of the bill and approving electronic transmission of election results to be in Nigeria’s electoral law, saying that it was a landmark decision.
“Investing INEC with such a responsibility independent of other agencies of government is a demonstration of high measure of responsiveness by Senators.
“In the same measure, Nigerians who actively engaged the debate of the amendment proposals in the National Assembly, especially leaders of civil society organisations should be equally commended.
‘Without their engagement, the decision of the Senate of October 12 may have been different,” he said.

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