Salisu Mohd Lukman, Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum PGF has commended the National Assembly for responding to the yearnings of Nigerians on the passage of the electoral amendment bill allowing the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to transmit Election Results electronically from polling units.
He also applauded Nigerians and members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for embarking on a robust debate of the issue without which the outcome Electoral Act Amendment would have been different.
Lukman acknowledged that the bill when assented to law will significantly reduce manipulation of result by desperate politicians, enhancing the credibility of the electoral process.
“INEC will have the direct responsibility of transmitting all election results electronically. This would include developing all the technological infrastructure, procurement and installations of all the hardware and software as well as recruitment and training of all the personnel requirement for the electronic transmission of electoral results.
“No doubt, this is a groundbreaking decision given that physical process of transmitting election results from voting areas to collation centres give space for rigging.
He noted that since 2011, the introduction of card reader technology for voter accreditation has significantly weaken the capacity of politicians to inflate election results, which during previous elections produced voter turnout close to hundred percent of registered voters.
“If the new electoral amendment is passed, it should be expected that introduction of technology to the process of transmission of electoral results would similarly weaken the capacity of politicians to interfere or manipulate the election during the process of transmission of results”
Independent.com reports that an opinion titled: Internal Democracy in Political Parties and Prospects for New Nigeria, Lukman also noted that the aspect of the bill compelling political parties to adopt direct primary in candidates selection will enhance Internal Democracy within political parties and encourage citizens participation in the selection process.
At the moment,he observed that political leaders across party lines tend to prefer the indirect, delegate method as it allows them greater control over who emerges as candidate, and cautioned that as long political leaders continue to narrow political process to the contest for political positions, the problem will persist.
While he noted that INEC has made advancement in election management since the introduction of technology,he expressed concern that political parties have remained backwards in the area of party management, membership recruitment and participation.
“Notably, issues of membership participation, especially during the process of selection of party candidates within political parties in Nigeria is a major source of national frustration, which is perhaps the rationale behind the October 12 Senate proposal to compel all parties to adopt the direct method of primary to weaken the capacity of some power blocs within parties from manipulating internal process of candidate selection.