A leading pro-democracy and non-governmental organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned the Professor Yakubu Mohmood – led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for ruling out the use of electronic voting in the 2019 general election.
The Rights group said the decision is ill-advised and is meant to provide ample opportunities for politicians who are incumbents of the two main political parties to use powers of incumbency and massive financial resources at their disposal to manipulate the electoral process to reach a pre-determined objective even as the cases of ghosts voters and child voters will then become widespread and impossible to detect.
HURIWA said the current management of INEC has proved not to be a reliable unbiased electoral umpires who are willing to conduct free, fair, credible and peaceful election comes 2019.
Relatedly, the Rights group has described as substantially false and unscientific the report credited to the National population commission stating that Nigeria’s new population stands at 198 million.
HURIWA wondered how the new figure of the national population was arrived at when Nigeria has not conducted head count that ought to have been done in the year 2016. HURIWA said by law the Country ought to conduct regular headcount every ten years but stated that the current administration was afraid of the potentials that the deployment of improved infrastructure for census can have in bringing about accuracy and exactitude which informed the deliberate stifling of the functions of the near moribund and politically tainted National Population commission. HURIWA argued that the coincidence between the announcement of a highly frivolous and untenable new population figure with that of INEC refusing to use electronic voting shows two federal institutions that are partners in the criminal collusion to undermine the independence, credibility and integrity of the year 2019 general elections.
In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said the announcement by the electoral panel that electronic voting will not be used in the 2019 general elections is a game plan to rig the presidential poll for the incumbent and the governorship for incumbents of all political formations who can play ball even as the Rights group warned of dire consequences should this plot being hatched comes to fruition next year. HURIWA also asked Nigerians to deploy drones and their handsets to transmit happenings at their respective polling centers to minimize the potentials of electoral manipulations and rigging which the current election managers are perfecting to execute for their own selfish and personal pecuniary aggrandizement.
“We condemn this leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for sticking to the primitive and manipulative way of manual conduct of elections as against global best practices and wondered why the electoral commission had in recent times spent billions to procure electronic voting machines.”
“We learnt authoritatively that INEC under Yakubu Mohmood has collapsed under the heavy weight of pressure by the political hawks in the presidency not to deploy electronic voting machines for the purposes of the general elections. This sinister plot to manipulate the actual voting exercise by not using electronic voting system but to adopt electronic transfer of results to rapidly issue and annual rigged results to achieve a fait accompli should be condemned totally.”
“INEC’s decision not to use electronic voting system is because the officials believe that millions of voters of northern origin maybe disenfranchised and since the ruling party has some of her largest support base in the North, INEC think the use of electronic voting system may work against the incumbent president who has indicated interest to seek re-election.”
“This decision by INEC not to use electronic voting is primitive, unconstitutional and will adversely affect the credibility of 2019 elections. Why did INEC not embarked on sensitization and enlightenment process on the use of electronic voting machines since two years ago but decided to wait till now to make this odd announcement.”
HURIWA recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will not introduce electronic voting for the 2019 general election.
HURIWA said the INEC’s leadership Spoke at a press conference to mark the end of the three-day international conference on the use of technology for the conduct of elections in Africa, whereby the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said it would only deploy technology for purposes of collating and transmitting election results during 2019 poll.
HURIWA quoted INEC chief as stating that: “Let me say categorically that the commission will not be deploying technology for electronic voting in the 2019 elections, but we will deploy the technology for collation and transmission of election result from polling units to INEC result collation base,” he said.
HURIWA said Yakubu, who was flanked by officials of election management bodies from Namibia and Belguim, further said one of the outcomes of the conference was a decision by the electoral umpires to work towards eliminating cases of meddlesomeness and interferences due to the deployment of technology during elections.
HURIWA however believe that the present leadership of INEC is working to achieve largely a Northern regional agenda of ensuring that the incumbent President is manipulated back to office in 2019 in spite of widespread disaffection and rejection of his decision to contest for a second and final tenure last year.