Prof Tunde Adeniran, former Minister of Education and Ambassador of Nigeria to Germany, has asked the Nigerian Government to facilitate voting for Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Adeniran, who also worked for the United Nations and retired as a political science lecturer at the University of Ibadan, said Nigeria must look beyond giving excuses and serve as a pacesetter that other African nations look up to.
He made the comments in an interview with SaharaReporters while reacting to the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission that it would implement electronic voting in major elections starting from 2021.
He said, “I don’t think it is a bad idea, my concern is that they should do thorough homework before they embark on it. I believe that there is so much we should be doing now.
“I believe Nigerians in the Diaspora should be voting by now, nothing should be stopping them from voting so if INEC is seeking the online option now, it is timely and worthwhile. All they need is to do adequate preparation before they launch out, between 2021 and now there is sufficient time to do necessary preparation.
“Democracy should be something that gives the majority of the people the opportunity to exercise their civic rights and those who are not able to, it should be on the basis of choice and not because they are handicapped by the system in operation.
“If we say that we have to wait till we have adequate supply of electricity to vote electronically, we may wait endlessly but when we are compelled we need to work with what we have. It is not a luxury, electricity is not a luxury, it is a necessity so the needful has to be done to put that in place.
“With the way this country worked in the 60’s, we shouldn’t be were we are today talking about lack of electricity and so forth. Electricity used to be regular, there was no disruptions that means so many things have gone wrong.
“We cannot be giving excuses. Are we going to say we should not vote again until we have good roads for people to move around? Are we going to say we will not vote until we do not have some gangsters using violence during elections?
“Get the infrastructures right and do the right thing. We are resourceful enough to lay the example for other African countries. If we are still doubting our capacity to do electronic voting in 2020, then we are not serious. We have to get our acts right and be disciplined as a people.”