Recognise Nigerians’ right to vote securely, group tells INEC

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A group has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise the rights Nigerians have to vote securely in a free and fair election. The group under the aegis of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made this demand in a letter addressed to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

According to the letter dated October 28 October, it said: “The explicit recognition of the right to vote and to vote securely would improve the right to representative democracy in the country.” This was disclosed in a statement on Sunday by SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare. He specifically wants the electoral body “to use the mandates of INEC to pursue constitutional and legal reforms that would explicitly recognize Nigerians’ right to vote and to vote securely in free, fair and honest elections as a fundamental right.”

“The continuing resistance by politicians to bring the country’s electoral legal rules up to date with modern technology, and make the use of technology mandatory in our electoral process is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigerians’ right to effectively participate in their own government,” the letter partly read. “Large-scale election infrastructure insecurity poses serious threats to the fundamental right to vote that INEC can no longer ignore. The challenges facing the electoral process can be addressed by a swift adaptation and innovation in both election laws and election technology.

“Democracy works best when everyone participates. Legally enforceable right to vote is the bedrock of any democratic society. The right to vote and to vote securely is too important to be left to the whims of politicians.” “Confidence in the electoral process is on the decline. Many Nigerians are expressing concerns about the credibility and integrity of the electoral process.”

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