INEC seeks review of laws against electronic voting

The Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday in Abuja advocated a review of the extant laws prohibiting electronic voting in the country.

The commission was of the view that the scientific system of voting had become an unavoidable reality as evidenced in the major role technology played in the success recorded in the 2015 general election.

The Chairman of INEC, Hajia Amina Zakari, represented by INEC National Commissioner, Mr. Lawrence Nwuruku, said this during the post-2015 Electoral Reform Symposium organised by the National Democratic Institute and other civil society organisations.

The introduction of the card reader machine by the immediate past INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was said to have minimised rigging and electoral irregularities during the 2015 general election.

At the event chaired by a former Senate President, Dr. Ken Nnamani, the INEC chairman raised many posers on the need for comprehensive electoral reforms ahead of the 2019 general election.

“Should we not then entrench its use and application in our electoral laws to avoid whatever ambiguities that may exist with the present legal regime? Should Nigerians in the Diaspora not have the right to vote? Should electronic accreditation, transmission and collation of results not be permitted? Should the decision of the returning officer be final subject only to a reversal by a tribunal?” Zakari queried.

She added that there was the need to re-examine the role of INEC in election petitions, particularly where the commission had been made a mandatory respondent in all petitions.

While calling for the implementation of the recommendations of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reforms Committee, Zakari said it was time such reports that had gathered dust in the shelves for too long should be revisited.

She said, “For us to consolidate and build on the gains of the recent past, we must take cognisance of the imperatives of electoral reforms in order to build a sustainable, stable and durable democracy.”

The INEC chairman, however, regretted that the commission submitted a comprehensive memorandum to the National Assembly as well as the 2014 National Conference but that the proposed amendments did not see the light of the day.