The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Abubakar Kyari, has said electronic voting would be highly beneficial to Nigeria’s electoral process.
Kyari, who spearheaded the Electoral Reforms Act that legalised electoral voting in Nigeria, said this during an interview on Arise Television, a THISDAY sister network, yesterday.
He pointed out that the issue of electronic voting had been around for some time.
“Already our election system is electronically based. Almost 80 or 90 per cent is electronically based. The permanent voter’s card is also registered electronically. The problem that was there was in respect of the electronic smart card readers. But the smart card is now embedded in the new legislation,” he added.
Responding to a question about the likely manipulation of the electronic voting process, Kyari pointed that even when voting was on paper, such a challenge also was a concern.
“There was ballot manipulation, ballot box snatching, result sheet manipulation,” he said.
“Just take the 2015 general elections. The use of the smart card readers was a bold step. The smart card readers served its purpose. The smart card readers did not fail to read the cards. But probably the problem it had was that it failed in some instances.
“Look at the banking system today, it is electronically based. All our bank accounts are electronically based. Does that mean you shy away from keeping money in the bank? No, there are steps to secure that data. So, I believe we have looked at the pros and cons and decided when to introduce e-voting. What we are saying is that if it is feasible and if we can tie up the loose ends, we can now introduce it in 2019.
“So, it is up to INEC to look at the whole environment. When you look at the whole system and the whole process, from registration to announcement of results, it is all done electronically,” Kyari said.