2019 General Elections: Using Electronic Machines Won’t Stop Rigging- Radio Analysts

PIC.8. FIELD TEST OF INEC SMART CARD READER AT ONIGBONGBO IN LAGOS STATE ON FRIDAY (6/3/15). 1189/6/3/15/BOA/CVM/AIN/NAN

Analysts on a private radio station in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital Tuesday x-rayed the various methods of election rigging, predicting that the 2019 general elections in the country using electronic voting system will be full of more surprises.

The analysts who were speaking on Comfort FM, Uyo identified the use of under age children as a method of election rigging, predicting that “Rigging in 2019 general election will make that of 2015 a child’s play.”

They cited “Look at what happened Saturday in Katsina state where there was a bye-election into the House of Representatives. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused All Progressives Party (APC) of rigging election. They supplied pictures of children who voted during the election.”

One analyst said “In that election, APC won by 30,000 votes while PDP got 22,000 votes. I saw small children lining up to vote. Using under age children is an act of rigging an election,” querying “Who registered the under age children? Were they captured by election machines?”

Another mentioned that people can hack into the system. “We have heard stories of people hacking into system. People can be mischievous enough and particularly when people are desperate for office, they can do anything to win election.

“If the possibility of hacking is not curtailed, it would even be better to do it manually. People could still hack into the system and change the figures and it becomes discouraging instead of a lesson.”

According to him, “Another fear is that Nigeria generally is backward in terms of the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). I have been going to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Uyo to sign a register and I found out that their problem is with the use of computers.

“The problem has to do with people manning the equipment. Can the people on ground really man the equipment? If it is hacking, the manipulation could be done anywhere.”

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Another analyst posited “Election rigging is eas, simple and also difficult depending on the strength of the opposition. Where there is no opposition, election could be rigged with impunity. Every body belongs to a political party and may be one or two persons belong to a political party. They could be influenced to keep silent otherwise they can pay with their lives.

He argued “Where the opposition is not strong, you can equally rig election. This is where it starts. When you go to a collation centre which is the ward level, you may have 10-12 polling booths coming together to return results. If the opposition is not strong there, you can rig election. Whatever is transmitted to INEC is accepted as authentic result. When you go to local government level where the collation agents would submit results of election and the opposition is not strong, you can equally rig an election.”

Another analyst mentioned multiple voting or thumb printing as another way of rigging election.

The analysts concluded that “Using electronic machine to collate results does not stop rigging. When the votes enter the system, they have entered the system. Again, the votes could be cast before voting.”