The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Monday said President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly have both killed any attempt to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the freedom it needs as an independent body to utilise electronic system of voting.
Director of Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who made this disclosure while reacting to the meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors also said the response of the governors came a little bit too late.
According to him, it is not the duty of the presidency or the National Assembly but INEC’s duty to decide where electronic voting can be utilised and where it cannot.
He said, “The statement by the PDP governors came a little bit too late and may not achieve the effect they want. Let’s remind ourselves that these governors have direct access and huge amount of influence on senators and members of the House of Representatives. They could have exercised some influence on these people to make sure that the amendment to the Electoral Act was more emphatic in terms of the reforms than just allowing it to get to this stage.
“At this stage, unfortunately, the APC administration under President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly have effectively strangulated any attempt to create and give INEC the scope and allowance it needs to fully utilise electronic voting as a primary system of voting.
“What the nation really needs to do is to trust INEC and say INEC should use the voting pattern that is consistent with the interest of Nigerians. To adopt multiple voting system and let INEC decide where electronic voting should take place, where non-electronic voting should take place.
“The decision is not a new issue; we have been on this for a long time. In 2003, I was secretary of INEC and going back, we have strived to sell this idea that INEC should be made to choose the mode of election.
“If you don’t trust them, why on earth do you want them to conduct an election? But what they did this time is to create a situation where agencies of this government and the government itself will determine whether we have any form of electronic voting at all”.