By Emeka Mamah
KADUNA â€” The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been urged to exercise caution in its quest to introduce electronic voting system in the 2011 general elections in the country.
Civil society groups made this call at the on-going first National Stakeholders Forum on Electronic Voting System in the country in Kaduna yesterday.
Those who spoke included the Coordinator of the Transition Monitoring Group, Mr. Festus Okoye; the Executive Secretary of the Centre for Peace and Projects Development (CPPD), Mr Mohammed Ibn-Ahmad; Mr. A. A. Olajide of the Olabisi Onabanjo University and a member of the Editorial Board of The Punch Newspaper, Mr Sola Imoru.
Okoye, Olajide and Ibn-Ahmad spoke on â€œThe role of the civil society in actualising e-voting in Nigeriaâ€ while Mr Imoru spoke on â€œThe role of the media in actualising e-voting in Nigeria.â€
All the speakers agreed that there was the need for e-voting in the country but added that the Federal Government and INEC should address the issue of electoral reforms as recommended by the Justice Mohammed Uwais Committee as well as the twin issues of illiteracy and erratic power supply.
In his paper, Okoye blamed the â€œdo-or-die attitudeâ€ of Nigerian politicians towards winning elections as the main cause of electoral fraud in the country. â€œA section of the political class that live fat on the common wealth of Nigerians and who are not popular in their communities and constituencies will not on their own allow any system to work.
â€œThey have perfected the act of subterfuge and manipulating the electoral process and any system that will prevent them from doing that must resisted.
â€œGetting the right and compatible technology that takes care of the fact that Nigeria has a difficult geographical terrain, electricity difficulties and maintenance problems will be an added advantage to the new initiative,â€ he said.