UNDP advises Nigeria on electronic voting


The UN Development Programme (UNDP), has advised Nigeria to ensure that its eligible citizens everywhere in the world are able to vote during national elections.

The Country Director of UNDP, Dr Pa-Lamin Beyai, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that Diaspora voting would guarantee wider acceptability of elections.

Beyai said that Diaspora voting has been adopted in many African countries including neighbouring Niger and Benin Republics.

“We’ve heard people clamouring for Diaspora voting. I know it is a very expensive enterprise but they should know what Nigeria can do as a country, and what is best for this country.

“I think Nigerian leaders should objectively look at it to ensure that Nigerians everywhere, where possible, can vote and can have a say in the affairs of their country.

“It’s not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa; in fact, our economies are run by those living in Diaspora,’’ he said.
According to him, If they are sending money every month to their relatives, support interventions, I think it is only fair that they are given that franchise.

“But that depends on what the country can do financially, logistically and what realistically can happen.

Beyai advised that the country should adopt Electronic Voting System to replace the current ballot boxes system.
“We should find a way of electronically determining who votes, where, within minutes.

“If it means `Phased-voting’ as it happens in India, why not? But this requires investment and above all, our own attitude.”

The UNDP official called for robust civic education for the people to be aware of what is expected of them during elections.
According to him, it is important for the people to know that elections are not synonymous to war.

“If you lose, you can still wait for another time; you can try again and perhaps, you might win.

“The best example to emulate is the current Nigeria President, who tried three times and lost. It’s only the fourth time that he won,” he said.

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