Peoples’ Life Improvement Foundation (PLIF), an NGO, has urged INEC to implant biometric features similar with those on Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards, on Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs), to ease e-voting and make elections transparent.
Chief Somina Elekima, PLIF International President, who made the suggestion at the NGO’s first general meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the measure would reduce human involvement that had always hurt the credibility of elections.
“When the PVCS are upgraded, we shall have biometric accreditations, voting options, transmission commands with printers connected, so that the ballot of the voter as voted will be printed out and placed on the ballot box physically.
“The deal is that by this time, the votes have been computed and transmitted from the polling unit to the local government, state and national levels simultaneously.
“This on time transmission of results alone can save up to 70 per cent of the sanctity of the election.
“The remaining 30 per cent will be that of possible hackers which will then be identified as a single problem that will be subject to the best technological test in case of an election petition.
“If we can achieve this, the myriad of violence will be reduced. The fraud is now reduced to just inducing voters with bribes, but the actual voting will be individual’s decision,’’ he explained.
He, however, noted that such technological interventions were only possible if the electoral amendment bill was signed into law.
“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to endorse the law so as to give us biometric accreditation, electronic voting, electronic counting and electronic transmission of results.
“If we can have these all in place, it will be possible to successfully prosecute electoral cases because it will be easier to detect the point any anomaly has occurred,’’ he said.
He said that the electoral law would reduce the number of persons and materials deployed, especially in view of security issues, which had combined to make election so expensive in the country.
Elekima alleged that some politicians do not really want a system that would see the people actually employing and sacking political office holders.
“Sometimes politicians complain of the electoral process when they are out of power, but hardly take any step to correct the lapses when they win elections.
“We must make sure that the system is credible. We have no option but to have electronic-driven electoral process that will have accreditation, voting, counting and transmission at the same time,’’ he said.
He dismissed suggestions that it would be difficult to change Nigerians’ pessimistic feelings about their nation.
“Nigerians want positive change and have always yearned for it. We must instil confidence in the psyche of Nigerians. That is the focus of PLIF.
“Many feel Nigerians cannot change. I reject such pessimism. We can make things happen once we are committed and can show transparency in our approach to the quest for change,’’ he said.
“All we want at this point is perseverance, pressure and patience,” he declared.
Elekima emphasised the need to “take democracy to the people by making votes count’’, and urged Nigerians never to lose interest in the strength of their PVCs.
“The PVC remains a very powerful weapon we have in our hands. Let’s insist on voting and also insist that our votes count and are counted.
“Nigerians must be mobilised to decide who should lead them and also guide who they voted so that their interests and aspirations will be well served.
“Democracy is a government by consent. This presupposes a proper electoral system where the people have a chance of influencing who gets elected into office. We must all strive to make this possible,’’ he said.
The President urged Nigerians and other NGOs and pressure groups to join the PLIF crusade to cleanse the nation’s electoral system to ensure the emergence of leaders by popular will.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the NGO, at the meeting, elected Mrs Fatima Abba, a lawyer, as its National Secretary. She replaces Joshua Worlu, who is now National Auditor.
Also elected was Regina Esego, former Women Secretary, who is to serve as Women Leader of the organisation.