INEC wants replacement of manual voting with electronic system

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Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, has asked for the replacement of the current manual voting with electronic system.

Yakubu said this at the inauguration of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution (as Amended) on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that Nigeria’s electoral process was too manual and very archaic, adding that there must be an amendment to accommodate electronic voting in the country’s electoral process.

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“You have seen what we achieved in Edo where we were able to upload results electronically; so the impediment must be removed,” he said

He also called for the establishment of electoral offences commission to punish offenders, adding that the review of the constitutional must provide punitive measure for electoral offenders in the country.

He said that many panels had in the past wanted to establish electoral offences commission to punish electoral offenders but that could not materialise.

Yakubu said that before 2015 general elections, INEC came out with general principle that election would be held on the second Saturday in February.

According to him, such is the practice in the U.S. and Ghana where they have a fixed day for their elections.

“Going by this decision, from today we will have 855 days to the general election; so we have very limited time for the constitutional review,” he stated.

Prof. Dakas Dakas, the guest speaker at the inauguration, called on the committee to address the issues of referendum, restructuring and devolution of powers among others.

He urged the committee to make the review a truly Nigerian constitution, saying the imperative of the people’s constitution is germane to the survival of Nigeria.

The professor of law called on the lawmakers to avoid pitfalls in their quest to review the 1999 constitution, stressing that their priorities should be that the people’s expectations were met.

He stressed the need to engage the citizenry and inspire confidence that the exercise would be credible, adding that the mistakes of the past should be avoided.

“Because we have had in the past, during constitution amendment, the third term agenda which invariably scuttled the exercise, a number of Nigerians have asked whether this exercise is needed.

“So there is a need to inspire confidence in Nigerians and let them know that it will be credible and also reflect their wishes,” he said.

He said there was the need to enlist the support of the media, both mainstream and social media, adding that the committee must reach out to the Independent National Electoral Commission and Civil Society Organisations.

He also said it should meet faith-based organisations, state Houses of Assembly and other critical stakeholders to harvest their views on the review.

He said that parochial and self interest must be jettisoned, adding that religion and ethnicity must not be allowed in the course of the assignment.

He said, “Do not allow constitutional overreach and avoid the arrogance of power by leading by the power of your example and not by example of your power.”

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