Over the past few weeks, Nigerians had to deal with electing new leaders at various levels of leadership capacities. The election in general is not without its peculiarities and failure to learn from them is disastrous to the growth of our democracy, electoral system and our national integration.
It is very disheartening that the 2019 general election was characterised by postponement, sheer vote buying, violence, harassment and disenfranchisement of the electorates, inconclusiveness, ballot box snatching and wastage of the nation’s resources to mention but a few, when it is highly evident that they are all avoidable. One feels greatly compelled to ask why our electoral processes continue to be problematic when the solution is right before us.
Besides the banking industry and the antigraft agencies, one of the agencies that should benefit largely from the emergence of Bank Verification Number, BVN is INEC. Today, in Nigeria, every bank account owner has a unique BVN and no two persons have the same BVN. Also in Nigeria today, almost everyone has a handset which can be used to send text messages. It is of importance to state that no one can use a phone without a registered ‘Subscriber Identification Module’ card, (SIM). This SIM has the name, address, age, occupation, picture and thumb print of the user stored in the databases of communication companies.
Why can’t INEC give us a credible election through E-voting by liaising with CBN and the communication companies? Why can’t we sit in the comfort of our homes and elect leaders of our choice through ordinary text message, the same way we subscribe for data, caller tunes, news update and others? That way, every vote goes to a database already created by INEC with the help of foreign experts. For our illiterate parents, majority of them also have handsets. They can be guided by their educated children, grand children and neighbours on how to use their phone to vote.
The benefits of E-voting are too numerous to mention. It brings about minimal reduction of vote buying, underage voting, violence, electoral apathy and prudent use of the nation’s resources.