As Nigeria moves into its election period, the federal government is tasked with ensuring free and fair elections. To prevent bias, through the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC], the government is charged with performing free and fair elections while also facilitating a smooth transition if the people of Nigeria decide it.
Nigerians are more aware of their rights and the need to vote in or vote out governments based on performance, but the systems in place for elections in Nigeria are still riddled with errors. Moving Nigeria’s electoral methods and systems to a digital system that can be tracked by everybody requires work and education. The infrastructure isn’t really working – electricity and the telecommunication systems to transmit this data from the place of collection to the place where it will be collated is lacking.
In a discussion hosted by USAID, talks about how to prevent voter fraud were had. INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, called in via skype to discuss the plans INEC has for elections in Nigeria moving forward. Because Nigeria is in election season, there is a likelihood that the spread of fake news via social media might increase tensions. There are already politically motivated cases of violence being reported. A major challenge of INEC is to digitize data from the election as well as its process so that the incidence of rigging will be reduced.
Reports of underage people registering for PVC’s was discussed too. There were suggestions for a generalized biometric database. But already in Anambra, INEC, is implementing measures to digitizing the process before the elections.
With proper planning, the risk of fraud in elections can be diminished. Mahmood Yakubu of the Independent National Electoral Commission has laid out plans for the next 34 years on how to reduce the incidence of voter fraud.