Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan has declared that it will be a dream fulfilled for him if electronic transmission of results can be deployed during the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
He said this will deepen democracy in Nigeria and show that the country is making progress in its democratic journey.
Jonathan added that the adoption of electronic transmission of results will enhance the transparency of the electoral process and further guarantee free and fair elections in Nigeria.
He added his voice to the growing demands for the adoption of electronic transmission of results in Nigeria while speaking on Wednesday in Abuja on a paper titled ‘Human Security and National Development: The Whole Society Approach’ at the National Defence College Course 30 Inauguration Lecture.
The former Nigerian president also cautioned the National Assembly not to be a stumbling block in the moves and aspirations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the electronic transmission of results.
He said: “I have always made the case that electronic voting is the way to go, if we truly desire to secure the credibility and integrity of our elections. It is difficult, therefore, to understand why the argument against the possibility of electronic transmission of election results continues to subsist, despite all the advancement made in information and communication technology, over the years.
“I want to appeal to members of the National Assembly to always ensure that they do not embark on measures that could hinder the progress and independence of INEC. If they have to amend the electoral law, they should do so in a manner that would enhance INEC’s processes in its performance of its duties, especially through the adoption of innovations in ICT to aid its operations.
“Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, our nation has made incremental progress towards deepening the roots of the nation’s democracy. The fact that questions are today being asked by the people on the direction of that progress means that Nigerians appreciate democracy but expect us to do more to make it work better for our people and the country.
“There is the need for those involved in the ongoing electoral reforms to review their efforts and ask themselves some tough questions. That way, they will be able to determine whether they are advancing the course of democracy by working to enhance and protect the constitutionally guaranteed duties of INEC or seeking to encumber the body by assuming positions, capable of negatively affecting the exercise of its independence, in the conduct of elections.”
Jonathan added that when the election process is credible, time and resources will also be saved as politicians will not have to go to the courts to unnecessarily challenge election results.
He lamented that in Nigeria, litigation after an election has unfortunately become a standard practice but ought not to be so.
“From my experience in leading election observation missions to many countries, people hardly go to court to contest election results in countries where the processes are credible and transparent, because of the level of confidence in the system.
“It is not exactly the same here. In Nigeria, the system is such that as politicians prepare for elections, they also prepare for litigation. I recall that as a Vice President, then at one international engagement, I asked my counterpart, the Deputy President of South Africa about his country’s experience with post-election court actions, and he expressed surprise that people go to court after elections.
“I have always said that we have to develop our democracy to a level where going to court on election-related issues, will cease to be a viable option for politicians.”
The former President in his lecture also highlighted that development and security must not be seen as the exclusive responsibility of government but everyone needs to play their part and play it effectively to make the society a better place.