Electoral Bill: The Implications Of The President’s Refusal To Assent

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The Oasis Reporters

December 10, 2018

The e-voting machine in Kaduna (left). It proved to be an antidote to rigging.

For the fourth time, the President refused assent to the amended Electoral Act. The major reason advanced is that such law, this late in the electoral process, could create confusion in the applicable legislation.
I disagree with him.

In November 2015, I wrote an article (Published by Businessday and many other news outlets), titled: “ Revisiting the use of Card Reader in the 2015 Elections”, where I looked at the need to amend the electoral act to give legitimacy to the use of the card reader. In that article, I stated that:

“E-government must derive legitimacy from an underlying legal framework that recognizes and supports its operations. In this case, the conduct of elections is regulated by the Electoral Act, and which operates in isolation, and in complete ignorance, of a piece of technology called the Card Reader.”

Rather than the advertised reason of avoiding confusion, not signing the amendment is what will create the real confusion. We just saw the statistics that over 13 million voted in 2015, without the card reader; the President was a major beneficiary of this, having accounted for 75% of this. Therefore, not signing the amendment will mean repeating the flaws of 2015 at an industrial scale. The nation invested billions on card reader, and this action by the President will sabotage that piece of technology.

A nation should continuously improve their electoral process, and not retrogress. By this act, the President has passed on the opportunity to improve the quality of our elections. The refusal to sign the amendment will only sabotage the use of innovation to improve our electoral process.

History is keeping minutes for posterity.

Written by Engr. Robinson Tombari Sibe MNSE.

He’s a Computer engineer and policy analyst.
@rsibe

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Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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