…As Senate President says Nigeria going through dark patch
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared that
having a free, fair and credible polls, which is devoid of rigging, is a collective duty of all Nigerians.
The Commission made it clear that the
voters, political parties, politicians, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies, INEC and its staff, among others, are very critical to a free, fair and credible election.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said this yesterday at the
Blueprint’s 10th Anniversary/Impact Series and Awards tagged “Technological Innovation as Antidote to election rigging”, held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The INEC Chairman similarly said that law should be made to support the use
of technology, rather than be a barrier, for the election.
He made it clear that public enlightenment and more stakeholder engagements are also important.
According to Prof Yakubu, who was represented by Mr Chidi Neafor, an official of INEC, “Law should be made to support technology, rather than be a barrier, public enlightenment and more stakeholder engagements because having a free, fair and credible election, which is devoid of rigging, is a collective duty of all Nigerians –voters, Political Parties & Politicians, Civil Society Organisations, the Media, Security Agencies, INEC & its staff.
The challenges with IT deployment could be overwhelming, especially for a vast Country like ours;
“Technology is evolving, and therefore it is important to move with the trend to get the benefits therein.
“Battling with the crisis of People, Technology and Processes is a major task in a technologically driven electoral process;
“It is very important to always realise that technology may most times not give a full end-to-end solution, the people aspect need to be well handled.
“The use of technology in elections has come to stay, especially in this part of the World, and therefore needs to be improved upon.
Speaking on the way forward, the INEC Chairman harped on the pertinent need for more research, developments and study tours, adequate training and staff development, more support (funding) from government and International partners.
In his address, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan said Nigeria is going through a dark patch, noting that economic and security crises are severe.
Dr Lawan, who doubled as Chairman of the occasion noted that “ economic challenges are being felt in many parts of the world, with countries still seeking to escape the havoc of the Covid-19 pandemic on many aspects of life”
He lamented that “the insecurity in our country has taken an alarming dimension with killings, kidnappings and wanton attacks on public facilities becoming daily events in many parts of the country.
According to him, “while the Government is forthright and unrelenting in its efforts to contain the security challenges, the crisis is certainly being aggravated by people cynically projecting our ethnic, religious, cultural and geographical diversities as the primary cause of political instability and social insecurity in Nigeria”
The Senate President who expressed his fervent belief in the destiny of Nigeria, thus urged every Nigerian to hold on to that faith.
Dr Lawan acknowledged that “ in this age of information, the media play a crucial role in creating national unity and remodelling of public opinions.
“It is true that public opinion is always disturbed during a crisis, but in such situations, the media can control the public emotions and control public opinion with a positive attitude.
“Without a positive attitude in the media, even the best efforts of policymakers and government cannot produce results”, he said.
Dr Lawan said further, “let us also remember that crisis is inevitable in society. Indeed, it drives development when properly managed.
“The Nigerian media must, therefore, always seek to help the nation turn its crises into wheels of progress.
“This, they can do by providing useful information to calm the people and encourage them to do positive actions. “In the current situations, the media should seek information only from credible sources in order to limit the spread of fake news.
“They should avoid information that is capable of inciting violence and reprisals.
“When law and order succumb to anarchy, even lawmakers, journalists and journalism are endangered.
“We also tend to forget the challenges that shortened our earlier democratic journeys, and that our struggle to address those challenges brought us to where we are”, said