Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega,has explained how the electronic transmission of results will reduce election fraud in the country.
Jega disclosed this on the sidelines of the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament’s High-level Seminar in Winneba, Ghana, ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
Jega however hailed the passage of the Electoral Bill by the National Assembly, saying that the development was one of the legal frameworks that will guarantee credible elections in the country.
The seminar with the theme: “Two Decades of Democratic Elections in ECOWAS Member States: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward,” aimed at proffering solutions to electoral misdemeanors in the sub-region.
“I have no doubt that Nigeria has the competence and capacity to deeply engage in the electronic transmission of result. Since 2012, INEC has been piloting an electronic transmission of result system with robust software, with robust security, and they have piloted it in many elections.
“I am happy now that the National Assembly have agreed for this to be done and has created the legal framework
“One of the major areas where fraud takes place in the elections of Nigeria is in the transmission of results manually. From the polling units, to the ward level, to the constituency level, electronic transmission of result will wipe this out,” Jega said.
Jega further called on Nigerians to have confidence in the new process, while also saying it was wrong to assume that results will not be accurately transmitted without a 100 percent network coverage.
He added that even in advanced countries, they are sometimes confronted with the challenge of poor network, insisting that once 70 percent of the results can be transmitted electronically, it is a pass.
“It is wrong to assume that if you cannot have 100 percent internet coverage, then you cannot do electronic transmission of results. Who says so?
“If you can do it in 80 percent of the polling units, or even 70 percent, it is still an A and you will have eliminated fraud in 70 percent or 80 percent of the polling units in terms of transmission.
“Even in developed countries, there are still areas where you can have challenges of internet connectivity. We have to accept that in these modern times, we can use technology to improve the integrity of elections and it is the only way to go,” Jega added.
Jega also urged the National Assembly to have a review of the draft bill that allowed the trend of extreme monetisation of politics in Nigeria which allowed only the rich to participate in politics.
According to Jega, “There are other things in the draft bill, for example, monetisation of politics. They have increased the threshold. They said to be president, you can spend up to N2 billion in campaigns; to be a governor, you can spend up to N1 billion; to be senator, you can spend up to N500 million and this is extreme monetisation of politics.
“These are other provisions that the Members of the National Assembly need to consider and drastically reduce, otherwise, or they will turn our democracy to plutocracy, which is government for the rich.”