Chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, has likened election rigging to a coup d’etat, saying both deprive the people opportunity to choose leaders of their choice.
Tambuwal, who stated this in a statement, to commemorate the 2020 International Day of Democracy, said it had become imperative to strengthen the electoral process to restore public confidence in the country’s democracy.
Consequently, the Sokoto governor charged the National Assembly to immediately conclude the amendment of the Electoral Act and entrench provisions that would make the manipulation of the electoral process impossible.
He added that the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship polls scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively was a test case of the preparedness of the country for democratic governance.
“To mark this day in Nigeria, it is important to note that the struggle for democracy has involved sweat, blood, diplomacy, compromises and negotiations. This had traversed the whole period of pre and post independence struggle, the First, Second, Third Republics. And our current experiment since 1999.
“In our contemporary Nigeria, many young people who did not participate in the various struggles may not understand the intensity of the price paid by our forebears. It is with this in mind that I wish to flag various dangers lurking around and threatening to derail our present democratic experiment.
“The strenghtening of our electoral infrastructure has become very urgent, if we are to restore the hope and aspiration of Nigerians that democracy still counts. Indeed the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states is a test case of our preparedness for a rule based and consent enabled governance.
“It has become imperative to rethink the role of not just the electoral umpire, but also the activities of various security agencies in our electoral process in such a manner as to instil in them the culture of inflexible support for democracy and its practice.
“Any electoral victory obtained other than through the legitimate votes of the people is nothing short of a coup d’etat.”
Similarly, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has pleaded with the National Assembly to pass e-voting bill to address the problems of manual election process.
National Vice Chairman of the party, Mr. Samson Olalere (South-West) made the plea in Ibadan, yesterday.
“It is quite unfortunate that Nigeria is still at this stage in its electoral process. Our lawmakers should look into reviewing the electoral system. Nigeria has grown enough to have electronic voting that will not be witnessing setbacks, such as the fire incidence in Ondo State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“If nothing is done to change the narrative, things will not move forward. Under normal circumstances, Nigeria ought to have grown beyond the manual electoral process that is giving us problems. We should not be thinking of using card readers to vote anymore,” he said.
He also said that the legislators should rise up quickly to review the law for the good of the country.
“INEC has always expressed its readiness for electronic voting but if there is no law backing it up, there is no way INEC can do it. So our lawmakers should hasten up and get this thing done so that Nigeria will move forward.
“E-voting will curb all these crises that we use to have during the electioneering. If the process is zelectronic and you know that you cannot easily manipulate and rig, then things will work well and there will be peace,” Olalere said.
He observed that if INEC had a backup system, there would be no problem for the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State.