E- VOTING IS POSSIBLE
Nigerians with an estimated population of about 200 million or so people gave the organizers of the television reality show Big Brother Naija (BBN) season 6 edition a billion votes which is approximately the population size of China, and all these votes were casted via online which is Electronic voting and they were all properly counted and given to the rightful owners without any mistakes or hiccup.
Mind you this program was organized by mutli choice owners of DStv which is just a private firm owned by an individual with few employees and sponsors working under him yet he was together with his team with limited resources, limited constitutional and state backing achieved this great feat.
e- VOTING is very much possible if the government is willing because Nigerians, weren’t taught or given any sensitization on how to go about it before they successfully gave BBN 1billion votes which is about 5times our population yet there’s no news of rigging, manipulation or votes being influenced by anyone.
Fine, I know politicians and those who are afraid of a credible, free and fair election via e- voting will argue that it was only youths with smart phones that voted in Big brother Naija show and not the old people in the villages without smart phones or has knowledge of operating a computer, but they tend to forget that Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is the simplest form of Internet surfing which could be done by anyone even with a touch light Nokia cell phone.
So for me, if there’s sincerity of purpose and strong political will by the government on the issues of e- voting, a massive sensitization exercise could be carried out on the citizens especially our parents and grandparents in the villages prior to the 2023 elections to equip them with the needed knowledge to go about the e- voting using the USSD with their non- smart phones or we could even test-run it on any state or federal constituency bye- election or any governorship election before 2023.
Mind you, ain’t saying that the e- voting will totally eliminate the issues of rigging, manipulation, financial inducement, snatching of ballot boxes and other elections related malpractices from our electoral system but it will go a long way in setting a new standard for Nigerians to vote their choice candidates, ensure their votes are properly counted and also ensure who they voted for emerge winner from the polls.
Those who are against this may have a good reason but democracy they say has to do with popular opinion so if 85% of Nigerians say they wants e- voting I think politicians and even the government of the day should respect that if truly we are practicing democracy.
Lastly I, I will suggest the current government should institute a meeting between it’s ministers of information, communication and digital economy together with Inec chairman to meet the with organizers of the just concluded Big Brother Naija television reality show to be properly educated on how multi-choice go about the management of the 1billion votes casted via online without any hiccups and mistakes where votes were given to their rightful owners at it’s show.
Michael Tare Enaigbagha,
A Political Activist,
Writes from Lagos State.