July 12, 2021
I am minded and constrained to add my voice in making this appeal to the sitting members of the National Assembly, not as the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, nor as Chairman of the PDP GOVERNORS’ FORUM, not even as the Governor of Sokoto State but as a Nigerian citizen and former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- We believe, that it is in the national interest to bequeath to Nigeria an Electoral Act that will contribute to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria irrespective of party platform. We have seen many times where a person may be in the ruling party today and in the opposition party tomorrow. We have also experienced a situation where party leaders would want to frustrate the re- election of a sitting member, even in the same political Party. What guarantees the re-election of a member of the National Assembly or indeed any other contestant should be his performance and appeal not the dictates of any godfather either as Governor, President or Party leader or stakeholder.
- It is a credible, free, and fair election that will ensure that the voters decide any electoral contest. The Edo and Ondo States elections where electronic transmission of votes cast from the unit level ensured that the voters wishes were respected are good examples. PDP won in Edo and APC won in Ondo as a result.
- Some have argued that INTERNET penetration in all parts of Nigeria is not assured. This is exactly why the bill should give INEC the prerogative of introducing ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF VOTES in any election. In any case, INEC has demonstrated and assured that it has the technology to transmit votes electronically even WITHOUT THE INTERNET. INEC had also assured that with the new process and technology, any interested Nigerian could track or monitor the results of the election from his or her house.
“Once results of elections are announced from the collation centres, down to the wards, Local Governments and final collation centres, any person can monitor it without any human error”, INEC announced recently.
- The international community, INEC, the entire Civil Society, almost ALL the political parties are in support of ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF VOTES.
- One must distinguish ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION of votes from ELECTRONIC VOTING, which in my view is a little bit more problematic, though achievable.
- My intervention is not a partisan one. It must be seen as a contribution from someone who has had varied experiences as a legislator, a former Speaker, a sitting Governor and one who has been involved in leadership of political Parties.
- As you decide this question, please, be guided by the wishes of your constituents who should be ultimate arbiters in a democracy.
Rt.Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (CFR) Former Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.