The Nigerian electoral system is one characterized with various forms of regularities and electoral malpractices, one that has often denied many of their basic civic right, which is the right to vote and be voted, for as enshrined in the constitution. From electoral violence to electoral rigging of election results, the use of thugs, votes buying and other forms of anti-social and anti-progressive activities, the nation electoral institution have been given a negative identity, which has led to the political apathy of many Nigerians who preferred to sit out of the whole affair instead of jeopardizing their safety.
Addressing the need for an electoral reform in the nation, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi stated that unless the nation Nigeria adopts the electronic voting system, it may find it hard overcoming the various form of electoral malpractices which often comes in the guise of desperation, political violence, killing and election riggings and all sort of electoral malpractices.
The Ebonyi state Governor stated this at the Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium in Abakaliki during the grand finale of the People’s Democratic Party [PDP] local government in the state.
Emphasizing the need for politicians and the Nigerian populace to shun desperation and violence, the governor advised the National Working Committee [NWC] of the People Democratic Party to set an example by adopting the electronic voting system during its primaries while also stating his readiness to play an active role in supporting the success of the actualization of the adoption of an e-voting system.
He also pledged that he would ensure that he shuns any act of godfatherism in the state, as he will not anoint any candidate or impose any candidate in the 2023 general election in the state.
While the thoughts and readiness of the Ebonyi state governor is highly commendable especially as the nation Nigeria prepares for another general election in few years to come, it is however not a bad thing for the major stakeholders in governance and the electoral cum political set-up of the nation to start making preparations for the success of the next set of elections in the nation. There are two states in the Federation that will be having their election in the next few coming weeks and the expectations of Nigerians has already been crushed especially in the wake of the political violence which has characterized the political scene in Edo state, many Nigerians have already resigned to fate as they believe that the process in light of the recent happenings in the state will not be a free and fair one. The Federal government of Nigeria must come to understand the need for the nation to adopt an electoral system that will be free from manipulations and not see the process as a do or die affair.
Going back to the demand for an electronic voting system in the nation, I would categorically posit that the nation in all its years of political cum electoral maturity is not yet ready to adopt an e-voting system. The use of an e-voting system is a complex and fragile system, which can be easily manipulated and breached, and considering the electoral culture in the nation, the present system is far better than adopting the e-voting system. One that might take the nation decades for preparation in putting up the necessary structure to address this.
Thus instead of embarking on a wild goose chase like this, the focus must be on sensitizing the active political players in the nation political system to adopt a progressive mind and attitude in electoral and political affairs in the nation. There is nothing wrong with the present electoral system being employed by the nation; however, the challenge lies in the heart of men managing the system, which brings the necessity of imbibing the right political culture in the heart of all Nigerians.
By Marcus Amudipe