The Election Network has called for the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill stating that this will foster the full implementation of electronic voting during elections in Nigeria.
The group insisted that the alarming rate of voter apathy as experienced in the 2019 election has made it imperative for speedy implementation of electoral reform adding that this will help put in check to several electoral irregularities
While presenting a documentary titled “Left Behind, Editor of The Election Network , Asari Ndem, expressed dissatisfaction at the amount of voters that were disenfranchised due to violence and inability to transfer their voters card stating that Nigerians should be able to vote anywhere they are, when the need arises.
‘‘The 2019 elections was a setback for Nigeria’s electoral and democratic framework. Officially, over 80 million Nigerians collected their voter cards from INEC but only about 30 percent of those people voted during the elections, the lowest recorded voter turnout in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.
‘‘We wanted to understand why this had happened, to enable us make submissions to policymakers on how this level of failure can be avoided in coming elections. So, we decided to talk to the people. To show the human impact of electoral deficiencies on average Nigerians, The Election Network produced a documentary titled “Left Behind.” In this documentary, we interviewed Nigerians who were unable to or chose not to vote during the 2019 elections.
‘‘We found that these Nigerians were stalled by factors like administrative shortcomings, intimidation, and violence. But what stood out the most is violence.
‘‘In light of these findings, we are making the following proposals for Electoral reform: The passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill: this overarching law on elections in Nigeria, when passed, will help put in check several irregularities but more importantly, give way for the full implementation of electronic voting during elections. Electronic accreditation, voting and collation to ensure credibility in the voting system needs to be done electronically to avoid errors, to also trace malpractices in the system.
Furthermore, Ndem called for the prosecution of electoral offenders and the inclusion of people living with disabilities, PLWD in the voting process stressing that PLWD should be included during election planning to ensure they are able to adequately exercise their rights.
‘‘Also, on financial accountability an embargo should be placed on the ability of political office holders to make financial transactions close to the elections.
‘‘With these submissions and the screening of this documentary, we hope to enact policy change that creates sustainable improvement to the Nigerian electoral ecosystem and contributes to the strengthening of our democracy’’ he stated.
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