Advertisement

Electronic Transmission of Poll Results “turning point” for Nigeria: Catholic Bishop

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The adoption of the electoral law that will allow the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to transmit poll results electronically is a turning point for Nigeria’s democracy, a Catholic Bishop in the West African nation has said.

Nigeria’s Senate rescinded their earlier decision against the electronic transmission of election results by INEC on October 12.

In a Facebook post over the weekend, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah has been quoted as saying, “The passage of the Bill to enable INEC transmit election results electronically both the House and the Senate is worthy of celebration. This is a turning point for our nation.”

Bishop Kukah highlights reasons he believes the new law is a “turning point” for Nigeria's democracy. 

The new law "has the potential for changing the face of Nigerian politics for good,” the Nigerian Bishop says in the October 23 Facebook post, adding that the law “will restore trust, that much missing link between Nigerians and the political elite.”

Advertisement

"Lack of confidence with the political process in the country accounts for voter apathy,” Bishop Kukah further says in his statement published by The Kukah Centre. 

The Local Ordinary of Sokoto Diocese explains, “Nigerians have become despondent and convinced that their votes would never account. This has opened up politics to those men and women of violence who have taken our nation hostage by violence.”

The new law is a turning point because it demystifies Nigeria's electoral process, he goes on to say, and adds, “The scales will fall from our eyes, the walls separating lies and subterfuge, which have allowed too many camels to pass through the eyes of the needle of truth will fall.”

He continues, “The clarity of the process will naturally empower citizens that their vote has power and encourage them to go out and vote. Those who have taunted the system have their days numbered.” 

The new law is a turning point, Bishop Kukah says, because “citizens will now take full responsibility for their votes and how they cast them.”

More in Africa

“The stock market of fake electoral currencies is now closed. We cannot blame anyone now for our misfortunes if we vote wrongly. The days of whether-you-voted-for-us-we-must-win will end. Yesterday was for the thief, today is the day for the owner of the vote,” he says.

He further expresses optimism in what the new law portents saying “fake and midnight pastors and Imams may have to look elsewhere for cheap money from politicians desperate for endorsement.”

“Very soon, our anointing oils or royal blessings will no longer be required for the manufacturing of votes,” Bishop Kukah says.

He continues, “There are no prayers for winning elections just as there are no prayers for stopping the traffic lights. Corrupt judges waiting for Tribunals to ambush the process along with their high-profile lawyer counterparts now have to look elsewhere.”

Applying the new law of electronic transmission of poll results, the technology “will shame those who have invested in preying on the ignorance and vulnerability of their people and continue to exploit them,” Bishop Kukah says.

Advertisement

He expresses the hope that the National Assembly will allocate the required funding to enable INEC embrace the required technology. 

“If we do this, perhaps, Nigeria’s days of shame might come to an end sooner than later,” Bishop Kukah says in reference to the need to facilitate the electronic transmissions of poll results.

He cautions, “A few other things have to happen before we start our celebrations and INEC has requested that on the whole, human interference, manipulation, should be replaced with technology.”

Unfortunately, the Bishop notes that the writers of the Electoral Act did not put into consideration some gaps that may arise due to technological advancements. 

“Electronic transmission of results is contingent on other technologies such as; a biometric register, electronic accreditation of voters, electronic balloting and collation of results,” he says.

(Story continues below)

The Bishop adds, “Those sections of the Act that did not foresee technological advancement should be immediately eliminated and the doors fully thrown open for INEC to use its researchers to explore the limitless frontiers of technological possibilities.”

The electronic transmission of election results, he continues, “is still a long road ahead but it is one of promise for us.”

The Local Ordinary of Sokoto lauds Nigerians who have relentlessly fought for credible elections in Africa’s most populous nation. 

“Whether the National Assembly has seen the light or they are responding to the heat of civil society, the struggle must go on,” Bishop Kukah says in the October 23 Facebook post.