By Abujah Racheal
Abuja – The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the electronic voting system in future elections.
President of CCN, Most Rev. Benebo Fubara-Manuel made this call on Monday in Abuja, while briefing newsmen on the group’s observations during the just concluded general elections.
He explained that electronic voting system was widely advocated by Nigerians.
He condemned in strong terms, the killings recorded on account of the elections in many parts of the country, adding “this should not be happening at this stage of the nation’s democracy.”
“We pray Almighty God brings comfort to the families of citizens, who lost their lives during the elections.
“We urge law enforcement agencies to ensure that culprits are fished out and prosecuted accordingly to serve as a deterrent to those contemplating making themselves available for such dastardly acts in future elections.
“INEC should explore the adoption of the electronic voting system in Nigeria, which has been widely advocated for by Nigerians,” he advised.
He said the council sensitised and mobilised Nigerians to understand and appreciate citizenship rights and responsibilities during the elections.
Fubara-Manuel further said CCN had deployed recruited and trained over 2,600 domestic observers across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
“They were spread across polling units, electoral wards and Local Government Areas in the country to observe the elections.
“We further acknowledge the efforts of INEC in ensuring that the elections held as rescheduled and for being proactive in responding to the complaints of voters.
“They were active in cases of failed card readers and extension of voting time for some polling units where voting commenced late.
“We equally applaud INEC for adjusting to early arrival of officials and voting materials during the gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections, ” he said.
Fubara-Manuel, however called on INEC to consider the following recommendations of the council in order to improve on future elections.
“INEC should improve on its logistic arrangements, putting into consideration, the reality of infrastructure as well as human capacity available within limited time.
“No element in the chain of operation should be underestimated so as to put an end to the issue of election postponement and late resumption at polls.
“INEC must also ensure that the recurring technical issues relating to the failure of the Smart Card Readers are completely resolved.
“INEC should work in partnership with CSOs to give citizens of voting age intense civic and voter education.
“This should be an ongoing activity and should start immediately not just some fire brigade approach usually carried out shortly before elections,” he advised.
He also advised that newly registered political parties should be restricted to only state and local elections as they do not usually have the capacity to vie for positions at the federal level.
He said that he had observed that new candidates were in the habit of withdrawing their candidature or collapsing their structure to support a leading party after being captured for election.
“Multiple logos and names are also capable of confusing voters too.
“Centralisation of INEC ad hoc staff payment should be adopted to avoid protests that are capable of delaying opening of polls as demonstrated by ad hoc staff at Kosofe local government area of Lagos State.
“The menace of vote buying seems intensified by political parties, therefore, measures should be taken to ensure arrests and prosecution of all culprits, ” he said.
Fubara-Manuel pleaded for the provision of adequate security intelligence at all polling units in order to reduce cases of vote buying.
“Parties aggrieved should seek redress through available legal instruments as the quest for a free and fair election must be seen as a collective effort and not the responsibility of INEC alone,” he added.
“Politicians are advised to see political office as an avenue to serve humanity and not to waste precious lives,” the president said.(NAN)