VS’is decided: Nigeria wants to put an end to the fraud and disputes that have marred practically all elections since independence, and especially since the most populous country in Africa returned to civilian rule in 1999, after several decades of dictatorships military. In recent years, and even more so in the run-up to the 2023 election, many questions about the credibility of the country’s electoral system and the viability of governance structures have been raised. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari finally approved on Friday February 25 an amendment to the electoral law which provides for the possibility of electronically transmitting the results of an election from the presidential election of 2023, with the stated objective of reducing the risk of fraud. A major step forward which, however, forces the electoral commission in Nigeria to set a new date for the general elections of 2023, due to the delay in modifying the new text. The establishment of a new electoral calendar will also affect the campaign, which can start 150 days before the poll and must stop 24 hours before the opening of the polls.
Innovation at the service of the Nigerian electoral system
The new electoral law authorizes the electoral commission (Inec) to carry out the electronic transmission of the results of the vote and the electronic registration of voters to help prevent fraud. It also makes possible the publication of provisional results immediately after the count in the voting centers. In previous elections, the first results were known several days and sometimes weeks after they were held in this country where many regions are plagued by great insecurity – thus increasing the possibilities of fraud, according to civil society organizations. “There are salient and commendable provisions that could positively revolutionize elections in Nigeria through the introduction of new technological innovations,” President Buhari said while signing the new law. “These innovations can guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens to vote and to do so effectively,” he added.
2023 on everyone’s mind
President Buhari, a former putschist general in the 1980s but democratically elected in 2015 before being re-elected in 2019, initially rejected a first amendment to this law, which then provided for the obligation for political parties to hold primaries. directly to nominate their candidate. In this new version, the political parties keep the possibility of choosing or not this mode of nomination of the candidates. President Buhari will leave power after two four-year terms, and political negotiations to nominate candidates have already begun in view of this ballot, which was to take place on February 18, 2023. No candidate has yet emerged to replace the leader. of the state, but the ruling party, the APC, already has several suitors, including the influential former Governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu. The country’s independent electoral commission has come under fire following President Buhari’s re-election in 2019, with some saying the ballot was neither free nor transparent.