Monday, March 30, 2015


Written by Tijjani Muhammad Musa

It happened in 2003, 2007, 2011 and is being repeated right now as we (Nigerian electorates) sit patiently waiting for the elections result to be announced. And at this particular moment, I often wonder what is going through the mind of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his vice Atiku Abubakar both of whom had been through this process before and so know exactly what is going on.

The ruling party PDP had tried everything possible under the sun to prevent or truncate this 2015 general elections from happening, out of fear of the predictable outcome, but failed. Postponing the February 14 elections by 6 weeks in order to gain grounds by the ruling party has failed to produce the purpose of the elections shift.

On Saturday 28th March, 2015 many Nigerians from all walks and cadre of life came out en masse, using their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and voted in a free and fair election. Everything went as smoothly as can best be obtained without any political violence or rancor, except of source in one or two places. It can't be perfect, at least not yet.

The social media provided the first means of informing, not just fellow Nigerians in other parts of the country, but to all parties interested in the Nigeria transition about the immediate outcome of the polls across the world. Thus fresh from the polling booths results were uploaded by party agents, supervisors, presiding electoral officers, independent observers etc who were witnesses to the voting process and the counted votes for each party.

Having documented the results officially and each party agent collecting a duplicate copy, many posted the results, images, videos from those polling units direct on to their wall on social media or on to websites scattered across the internet dedicated for that purpose. Thus most persons online could easily have access to such vital information and instantly bear witness to what must have happened at any election center.

What is baffling this writer is why INEC would fail to take advantage of this information highway by using it to confirm and authenticate the results of the election in order to prevent any electoral fraud or manipulations of the results from taking place?

One cannot imagine, after using the digital PVC reader to accredit voters at each polling unit before allowing bonafide voters to cast their ballots, the outcome could not immediately be posted onto a dedicated INEC website via the internet from official coded devices that would immediately be authenticated as genuine and so forestall any manual handling of the results by any person or staff. This way, time and vital resources could be save, besides making the electoral process as rig-proof as possible. 

But a situation where having done all the PVC authentication and voting thing, the hard copy results and ballot papers, instead of serving as mere backup to the e-results sent immediately upon concluding the elections are subjected to manual manipulation by persons with vested interest, which makes nonsense of the whole digital electoral process.

And until such a process is used, where election results are free from manual handling from the polling units to the electoral offices by electoral officers and other persons, a free and fair elections would forever elude us as a nation.

We must of essence design a process that starts with PVC accreditation, to voting and direct posting of such counted results on to a dedicated website, email address or something similar, which can be only accessed by a trusted and reliable INEC official with a password known to only a few.

The posted results would be read-only and so free from any manipulations. And having come from a staff of the commission, who has been assigned to a coded polling unit and could easily be identified as an official of the electoral process, all results from all the polling booths in all the wards of the 744 local governments, 36 states including Abuja could easily and readily be available at the touch of a button in the presence of stakeholders, journalists inclusive. That way all these delays and electoral misadventures could then be frustrated and avoided.

In fact, through such a process, many in diaspora could partake in the electoral process whenever the time for national elections approaches. Using their emails, such citizens could be allowed to cast their votes from anywhere in the world, which like all emails would be marked with the day, date, time and even a reference code. Once a vote is casted with that email, no other person can use it to conduct a duplicate vote.

But with the current situation, how can we expect someone who is empowered to gather all the results from a state and having collated such from the various polling units across the electoral areas, not be influence, induced or intimidated into manipulating the results by forces beyond his or her control? Some of such INEC officials could be offered huge sums of money, blackmailed into cooperation or even threatened with death.

Under such conditions, he or she is likely to do as directed and since as an INEC resident electoral officer his or her public announcement of the tampered results is taken as the final acceptable results, then the whole democratic process is often discredited, in jeopardy and so could never be accepted as being fair and just. Most especially by those who are witnesses and often have the original copies of the elections outcome in their possession.

And for the populace who withstood all the hardship involve in going through the whole electoral process to end up not having the persons they democratically elect to represent them at the state and national level, it can truly be frustrating. And often such injustice could trigger an outburst that could be costly in terms of lives and properties. Where planned and deliberately and mischievously executed, only divine intervention could forestall escalation of trouble.

As we await the final and formal declaration of this 2015 Elections results and winners, it is our ardent hope as Nigerians that the choice of the people as reflective of their hopes and aspirations in tandem with the real voting outcome would be respected and duly announced.
May God frustrate those with the intention of fomenting crisis in the polity. May peaceful transition to greatness be our lot as a nation and people through the 2015 General Elections, amen.

©2015 Tijjani M. M.
All Right Reserved

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