OrderPaperToday – With an increasing agitation from several quarters of the country demanding free and fair elections, a group, FixPolitics Initiative, has mobilized over 100 others to launch a petition to provide for electronic transmission of votes/results during elections.
This petition was launched on the change.org website on the 7th of October, 2021, urging citizens to sign and get a reaction from our legislators who are currently wrapping up work on the electoral act (amendment) bill.
The petition is endorsed by several other CSOs, CBOs, Think-Tanks, Socio-Cultural Groups and Professional Associations in Nigeria, including OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), The Electoral Hub, Enough is Enough Foundation (EIE), Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Gender Development Initiative, World Children Foundation, Partners West Africa-Nigeria (PWAN), League for Human Rights, among others.
A note from FixPolitics providing a background to the petition, stated that “it is trite that Nigerian elections since the beginning of the new democratic dispensation in 1999 have been plagued by violence, irregularities, and outright fraud and malpractice. Over the years, there have been numerous incidents of voting records being changed between the polling station and the collation centre, and between the collation centre and the final announcements by the returning officers.”
The note recognized that such actions have lead to “a diminished confidence in the electoral process,” adding that “when citizens begin to feel that their votes do not count, then the entire democratic process suffers. The pool of sincere candidates diminishes and the political field becomes an arena for fraud and violence.”
The launch of the petition comes on the heels of the Senates’ rejection of the electronic transmission of results. Likewise, the House of Representatives rule that it should only be done after INEC gets the permission of the National Communication Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly.
However, the petition states that “the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in what is arguably its strongest defence of electronic transmission of election results, says it has developed adequate structures and processes to successfully transmit election results electronically.”
Furthermore, considering that “both chambers of the National Assembly are set to meet to harmonise their positions before a final amended bill is sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law.
“This timely Petition by #FixPolitics and over 100 independent organisations that have proudly endorsed it is an urgent demand for change. We ask for the Nigerian Government (House of Representative, The Senate and Presidency) to allow for Electronic Transmission of Votes/Results, for this is the change Nigerians desire.”
With over 434 signatures gotten so far, more citizens are expected to take action by signing, sharing. commenting or donating to the petition before it closes.