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Opinions of Sunday, 25 July 2021

Columnist: Adebayo Sodiq

Senators shameful act on electronic transmission of results

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

For a country that has revelled in electoral malpractices over the years, the introduction of an electronic voting system should have been a welcome development, which every progressive Nigerian would have been in support of. Sadly, we can’t boast of this because some of our lawmakers are bent on keeping the country in the Stone Age.

I view electronic voting as a necessary breakthrough that will help our electoral system and put it in conformity with modern democratic norms. In the actual sense, an electoral system should represent the raw and undiluted democratic ideals of the nation. Conversely, the system here has been so bastardised that we now have political statements supporting our low-ranked electoral system.

Because of the backward nature of our electoral system, we still hear statements such as “May the best rigger win” and “Votes don’t count in Nigeria”. However, many of such statements are politically motivated to lull people into believing that credible elections cannot happen in Nigeria.

Electronic voting is one of the best tools to achieve free and fair elections. It is amusing that those standing against electronic voting are the same people claiming to be ‘progressive’. I believe this is a contradiction as you can’t claim to be a progressive and always stand against everything progressive.

Electronic voting should be categorised as a progressive move in the 21st century, so I wonder why those claiming to be championing ‘progressivity’ in Nigeria are the same people standing against this progress about to be witnessed in our electoral system.

It is incredulous, to say the least, that most of the Senators who voted against the electronic transmission of results belong to the ruling party, All Progressives Congress.

Electronic voting is one thing and electronic transmission of results is another. However, for the success of electronic voting, it is important we pressure our lawmakers into supporting the electronic transmission of results. In clear terms, electronic voting is useless in the absence of electronic transmission of results.

However, it is not entirely surprising that things turned out this way. Is this not the same National Assembly that proudly described itself as a ‘rubber stamp’ to the executive arm of government. Anyway, it is almost impossible to expect the beneficiaries of a rigged electoral system to introduce a lasting solution that will see an end to their political dominance.

It would be politically naïve of me to expect the same people that benefitted from the rigged electoral system to approve a solution that may likely put an end to the system. They know that if the bill was passed, it would have been ‘game over’ for them.

Anyway, I believe in our unity, and I believe that the will of the people will always prevail. Let’s keep pressuring our ‘representatives’ to do the right thing and save us the stress of going through another round of electoral malpractice.

May the will of the people prevail!