The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has faulted the exclusion of electronic transfer of election results in the ongoing review of the Electoral Amendment Act (2010) by the National Assembly.
Reacting to the appointment of the presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, as INEC National Commissioner, Jega said the controversy trailing her nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari should have been avoided.
He called on the lawmakers to apply the laws regarding the issue, in order to avoid a situation whereby elections she participates in may be viewed as being biased.
Jega, who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the decision of the Ninth Assembly to allow INEC to use electronic voting without the electronic transmission of results is counterproductive.
He said: “You can’t permit INEC on one hand to use electronic voting and not use electronic transmission of results because usually, they go as a package.
“Once there is a robust software and hardware for doing so, it now brings efficiency, transparency and real time ability to see the result as they are transmitted from the polling unit to a National Collation Centre.”
When asked if politicians feel uncomfortable over the electronic transmission of results, Jega replied in the affirmative.
The former INEC boss however explained that, “Not all politicians are fraudulent and want to win by hook or by crook.”
Jega asked the National Assembly to diligently work to ensure that the Electoral Amendment Bill (2021) is appropriately amended before being passed.
On whether Nigeria is ready for a fully digitised electoral system, Jega said, “I will urge that we make haste slowly. There is no doubt that if electronic voting is done appropriately, it will go a long way in improving the integrity of our elections.
“There are so many challenges in our country. For one to be able to do effective, thorough electronic voting, you need the infrastructure, software and associated support infrastructure. For example, stability of electricity, extensive network coverage and robust internet facilities.”