Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has said the opposition to electronic-transmission of election results by some members of the National Assembly could be interpreted that there was a plan to rig elections.
The Governor spoke while condemning National Assembly’s rejection of electronic-transmission of election results in Asaba on Monday while receiving the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta, Pastor Monday Udoh-Tom, and his management team.
The REC was at the Government House on an advocacy visit to the governor on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
Okowa however lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for declaring that it has the capacity to transmit results electronically.
He also commended INEC for its efforts at ensuring the credibility of the electoral process and for its stance to transmit results electronically.
He warned that rejection of electronic transmission of election results could deter the country’s effort at attracting Foreign Direct Investments.
“We must truly appreciate INEC because on daily basis they are thinking of the best ways to move our electoral system forward so that we can minimise all possibilities of fraud.
“Once Nigerians trust our electoral process, many Nigerians will come out to register and vote during elections.
”We need to change the narrative of many Nigerians that whether they vote or not, results will still come out the way they want it,” he said.
Okowa congratulated the INEC Chairman for coming out to insist that INEC had the capacity to truly transmit election results.
He said that there was no reason any Nigerian would want to vote for non-transmission of election results.
“It’s not just good for our economy and our image as a nation, because until people learn to trust our electoral processes, it will be difficult for people to come in and do business with us,” he said.
He added that it was “doable and possible” saying that all of us saw it with Edo State election.
Okowa said that he believed that the processes and technology being put in place would help to make it work.
He said that Nigerians should pray and plan for a free process and better improvement with every election that come even before the general elections in 2023.
“The elections that will come before 2023 will be a test to what we can be looking forward to in 2023 and I believe INEC will do its best”.
Okowa disclosed that he would make a broadcast to sensitise the people and various groups in the state, religious leaders and traditional rulers on the ongoing CVR.
He said that the state government would continue to carry out voter education and urged all government functionaries to mobilise their people for the exercise.
“I urge you all to mobilise your people both for the online and in-person registration.
“I can see that INEC is poised to do what is right and I am with the level of transparency that will make Nigerians to trust the process and come out more to vote on the day of election.
“We need to disabuse the minds of Nigerians and the process starts from now to ensure that we now have a credible electoral process,” he said.
The governor expressed worry that the exercise was starting at the local government level and advocated that INEC should move from ward to ward to ensure effective registration of the citizens.
“The cost of traveling particularly in the riverside areas is quite high so if INEC has the intention to be duly registered, there is a need to consider ward to ward movement,” he said.
He appreciated INEC for the way the recent by-election in Isoko North was conducted.
“We have our challenges as a country but in spite of these challenges we have a duty to encourage the people to trust on our electoral process.
“It is good for the country and for the people because when you are able to vote for your choice of leaders there is the tendency that they will be responsive to the people when they know that votes must count,” he said.
Earlier, the REC expressed appreciation to the governor for ensuring security of INEC’s staff and assets during the attacks on government institutions by unknown gunmen.
He said that from July 26, INEC would deploy physical registration for those who could not register through the online facility.
Udoh-Tom said that the Commission was leveraging on high political office holders in the Executive and Legislature, to increase the mileage in the task of mobilising the masses to come out and register.
He said this would improve the voter strength for the entire state.