Right To Vote Securely: SERAP Wants INEC To Pursue Constitutional, Legal Reforms

Oct 30, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, is responsible for advancing constitutional and legislative reforms that expressly recognise Nigerians’ right to vote safely in free, fair, and honest elections as a fundamental right.

Deputy Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) Kolawole Oluwadare said it was urgent ‘to promote constitutional and legal reforms that would contain explicit mandatory provisions on internet voter registration, and the use of modern technology, including in casting and counting, voter registration and systems for reporting results’.

According to SERAP’s letter dated October 28, 2023, Oluwadare argued that explicitly recognising the right to vote and to vote securely would improve Nigeria’s representative democracy. He added that politicians’ refusal to update the country’s electoral legal rules and make technology mandatory in our electoral process is inconsistent and incompatible with Nigerians’ right to vote.

SERAP states, “Large-scale election infrastructure insecurity poses severe threats to the fundamental right to vote that INEC cannot ignore. Election rules and technology can be quickly updated to handle electoral difficulties.

Everyone participating makes democracy operate best. The right to vote is the foundation of democracy. Voting rights and security are too essential for politicians to decide.”

While lamenting that confidence in the electoral process is declining and that many Nigerians are questioning its credibility and integrity, Oluwadare argued that “Nigerian politicians have little incentive to pursue genuine constitutional and legal reforms that would improve Nigerians’ right to participate in the electoral process and government mechanisms.”

“INEC has constitutional and statutory duties to promote and advance eligible Nigerians’ right to vote and vote securely as part of their internationally recognised political participation.

Under Section 2(b) of the Electoral Act 2022, the commission ‘shall have power to enhance understanding of healthy democratic election processes.’ INEC has the constitutional authority to take the recommended steps under Section 153 and paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule.

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