—Digitalization As Recipe To Electoral Violence in Nigeria, by Aroghalu Chidozie
On Saturday, February 23rd, 2019, Nigerians voted for who will become their next President.
Interestingly, the election did not witness total voters’ apathy as many had thought after the initial postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
It must also be noted that while we have conducted an election as a Country, many things remain undone. It was painful very much to read about violence in places like Lagos, Rivers, Osun and other States just to mention a few.
The violence did not only occur, many persons lost their lives, as a matter of fact the destruction was least expected atleast going by the orientation Nigerians had before the election.
I had wondered what would have happened if we did not have campaigns such as Votenotfight and other campaigns.
The bloodshed should bring us to realization as a Country that we need to upgrade our electoral system and also think of better ways of electioneering.
We must begin to realize that the world is moving at an age of advance technology use and we cannot afford to keep being analog. The lives of every Nigerians matter, as a matter of fact every Nigerian must be made to enjoy the right to life.
I have studied other countries and I feel the best way to end our political dilemma and issues is by the use of digital voting system.
We must begin to adopt a system where people can vote at their convenience, Where ballot boxes snatching cannot be perpetrated.
As a matter of fact we must in all sense start moves towards use of codes, use of voting methods inclined with our National Identity cards and enable people to vote without having to queue.
The government that emerges must also take it as a task to invest in literacy.
We can take a clue from Estonia that use I-voting. While many persons will argue about the literacy level in Nigeria we must also take cognicanze that issues like this are solved when we have a proper system in place to orientiate people and also we are willing to make this work.
Few African countries have taken a bold step for instance towards using E-voting and Nigeria must take this step too.
E-voting also ensures that polling takes place while people still go about their normal daily business.
The reduction in physical involvement also saves us alot of skirmishes.
It should be noted that less paper work will be involved, the Kaduna state government for instance tried this process successfully.
It should be noted that it is less stressful, also increasing the credibility of the process and its outcome.
This is not to say that issues that is relating to technicality may not arise but this is a better system.
The House of Representatives must as a matter of importance pass the electoral bill that enables e-voting.
The passage of this bill and timely preparation for the 2023 elections will be a start to resolving issues for us as a Country.
It looks very archaic when people have to file out to vote on a piece of paper at this age and time.
If we had over 72million permanent voters card collected, we can have as much as that too for voting if people are assured of their safety, assured they do not need to spend so much to vote in terms of travelling.
We cannot afford to be left without paying attention to critical issues such as this.
We cannot be the giant of Africa merely by population even in terms of intelligence we must be leading.
The deaths are avoidable only when we introduce a system that can curb the excesses of overzealous politicians and political thugs.
The positive I have picked from this election is the fact that Nigerians are more aware of the need to vote wisely and in some instances have been rejecting violence.
People will turn out more when they know they are safe and not threatened by violence or death.
The government must show commitment by allow E-voting and digital means of voting.
While the last rejection was premised on timing, we have enough time now to act right and do what is good for our political system.
This will put us on the rank of technological innovation and advancement and make us have a saner political system we clamor for.
Sustaining democracy is easy if we are ready to sustain and all available options to encourage its sustenance must be encouraged.
Aroghalu Chidozie Law
Writes From Abuja