As Nigerians draw close to the 2023 General Election, where they will go to the polling booths to elect their leaders to various levels of offices, it is important to note that not much has changed from the previous organized elections we have seen in the past. Elections in the past have been marred with rigging and pre-and post-election violence.
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Elections in Nigeria have been characterized by various forms of rigging such as ballot box snatching, mutilation of figures, vote-buying, and so on. The consequence of rigging is that unpopular candidates may emerge. Hence, it undermines a young democracy like Nigeria’s.
As we approach 2023, it is important to highlight how we can curb election rigging. In this article, I lay down a few useful suggestions that may help.
The first step towards organizing an election that is devoid of rigging is by bringing in foreign reviewers and observers who will monitor and as well sensitize both aspirants and electorates on how to host a free and fair election.
Inviting Foreign Reviewers/Observers
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These reviewers will constitute a pool of various individuals from the United Nations, African Union, United States, and the United Kingdom. However, it must be noted that these observers will remain unbiased and they will serve as an independent eye-witness to the elections.
Secondly, Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) should employ an electronic process of transmitting scores from the polling unit to the central server. This will help in checkmating rigging very greatly. For instance, if some people vote in a polling unit, that number will reflect on the INEC server and as well show the score accordingly. With this, they can use to reconcile manually recorded scores. This will greatly cut down every form of mutilation and falsification of figures.
Thirdly, the Nigerian government can only guarantee a free and fair election if they introduce e-voting. What the nation practice today is not sufficient. Some people have argued that e-voting is not feasible due to the poor literacy level in the country. However, e-voting is not complicated as we make it to be.
Electronically Transmitting Scores From Polling Unit
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E-voting is making that ballot paper electronic. This means, at the polling unit, voters can be granted access to look at the ballot on an electronic device, and simply click their candidate’s party.
Nigeria remains a very volatile space when it comes to elections. There are possibilities that violence might erupt in polling units. With drones, INEC and other stakeholders may capture the process in real-time and as well monitor various polling units which will discourage mischief-makers and troublemakers.
Use Of Drones For Monitoring
Finally, for voters to feel safe and as well defend their votes against ballot snatchers and unscrupulous elements, the government and INEC must provide security personnel (the Nigeria Police, and other security outfits) in each poll unit across the federation. The use of local vigilante groups should be considered.
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This article was first published on 29th June 2022