Time For Electronic Voting, Prosecute 2015 Election Offenders – Joda Commitee

Ahmed Joda

The Ahmed Joda led Transition Committee has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure those responsible for election fraud and violence during the 2015 polls are punished.

The committee said such offenders should be swiftly sanctioned as part of immediate steps to reform Nigeria’s electoral process.

In its report on “Governance”, submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari and exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the committee recommended a six-item good governance initiative, to include Electoral reform, Public Service reform, Police Service reform, Judicial reform, Military reform and Constitutional amendment.

Stressing the need for electoral reform, the report stated that, “Election is the cornerstone of any democracy. The recent elections in Nigeria showed the strength and weakness of the institutions, necessitating the need to reform”.

While lamenting the presence of corrupt officials in Independent National Electoral Commission, and pervasive electoral fraud, the committee recommended that those involved in electoral fraud during the last elections be prosecuted, as one of the quick wins to strengthen future elections.

In some states, especially in the South South States of Akwa Ibom and Rivers, there were overwhelming cases of electoral fraud as noted by local and international observers.

In Rivers, for instance, the Independent National Electoral Commission allocated the eventual winner of the governorship election there, Nyesom Wike, votes almost five times higher than the authentic number of voters accredited with card readers and Permanent Voter Cards.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported that while there were 292, 878, voters, Mr. Wike, who is now the governor of the state, scored 1,029,102 votes, representing 87.77 per cent of 1,228,614, being the conjured number of total accredited voters.

The result was announced by the Returning Officer for Rivers State, Osasere Orumwense, on April 13.

Similar discrepancies were also confirmed in other states, including Akwa Ibom.

The tracking was possible because under Nigeria’s current electoral system, INEC’s central server automatically generates figures of voters accredited with the electronic Smart Card Readers and Permanent Voters’ Cards across the polling units.

To dispense justice in cases of electoral offenses, the Joda Committee recommended the immediate establishment of an Electoral Offenses Tribunal.

Also, it recommended that the removal or suspension of INEC Chairperson be done by the President with support of two-thirds majority of the National Assembly.

The process of recruiting Resident Electoral Commissioners should be through public advertisement, the committee said.

Further, it recommended that voter registration should be electronic and continuous, and fully computerized, based on bio-metric data; and that the Constitution and all other electoral statutes be amended to accommodate electronic voting.