Nigeria’s immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, has identified electronic voting as the best alternative to ensuring credible elections in the country and other parts of Africa.
Against the backdrop of election malpractices that have been recorded across the continent over years, he argued that true democracy is attained when votes count.
“To me, if Africa especially will move forward, it is not just about routine conduct of elections. This year alone in West Africa made up of 15 states, we have five states that had elections.
“So, in terms of regular elections, we are progressing, but are these elections credible? If they are representing a constitutional democratic setting is the issue.
“Regular elections, fine, but elections per se is not democracy. If the votes of the citizens don’t count, then it is as good as a military dictatorship. So, for me, the reforms should first make votes count,” the Vanguard newspaper quoted the former president as saying at the 2020 edition of Osasu Show Symposium on Thursday.
“And taking a critical examination at the way elections are conducted across the continent at least from the ones I’ve observed, I’ve seen that the only way that we can get there is through electronic voting,” he said.
This year’s edition, which commenced on Tuesday, had in attendance leaders and players in public and private sectors to discuss issues retarding the growth of Africa as well as the ways around them.
Mr Jonathan, who serves as United Nations Special Envoy on Crisis Management, also admitted to susceptibility of electronic voting to hacking among other glitches.
“People may feel, yes, someone could manipulate the system, get smart boys who can hack into the system and do all kinds of things, yes, but still people use electronic system to move hundreds of millions of dollars across the world. So, I still believe very sincerely that that is the way to go,” he said, during the presidential panel session at the event.
Mr Jonathan was highly applauded in 2015 for conceding defeat after losing a re-election bid, giving room for smooth transition of democratic power in the country’s electoral history.
His defeat has been said to have weakened the then ruling PDP at the national level.