Sekinat Salam Opebiyi, Abeokuta
The Nigerian National Assembly has been urged to include Electronic voting as part of the Electoral Act amendment.
This was part of deliberations at the 160 years of journalism in Nigeria, held in Abeokuta the Ogun capital.
Former Ogun state governor, Olusegun Osoba who spoke on the theme, “Re-inventing the practice of journalism in Nigeria” with emphasis on the influence of the Social Media, said it was regrettable that the electoral process in Nigeria has been bastardised.
The veteran journalist renewed the call for the amendment of the electoral act, lamenting that vote buying, rigging, ballot box snatching among other electoral frauds plagued the Nigeria’s electoral process.
“I’m shocked at what we have now because it is worse than corruption,” he said.
Amendment of the Electoral Act
In Osoba’s view, the inclusion of electronic voting in the Electoral Act would put an end to electoral fraud in Nigeria.
“The day we stop selling our votes, that day we will get it right and that day we start electing the right people into offices…That is why I have been pushing for the amendment of the Electoral Act. Let us all support and fight for the review of the electoral act. Let us fight for electronic voting,” Osoba explained.
He asserted that when Nigerians stop selling their votes, the country will get it right. “We will get there, there is no collapsed country. Let us all be involved in politics, let us stop selling our votes,” the former Governor insisted.
Osoba said electronic was needed in Nigeria because countries like Ghana and Kenya has gone electronic which implies that Nigeria has no excuse not to get digital in its electoral process.
The former governor attributed the falling standard of journalism in Nigeria to poor renumeration of journalists, saying “It is unpardonable, it is unforgivable that employer should owe salaries. It is an offence unto God and even man,” he lamented.
Osoba also in his speech, slammed senators over the controversial social media and hate speech bills, which according to him were targeted at Nigerians most especially, media practitioners.
He noted that the media suffered and toiled to liberate Nigeria from colonial rule, which equally made them battle the military regime to entrench democracy in Nigeria.
“We will all be the victims of the bill if we allow it to scale through,” Osoba stated.
The Ogun state Governor, Dapo Abiodun disagreed with death penalty, being the punishment in the proposed hate speech bill.
The governor said the proposed social media law was to hold citizen journalists to account and make them responsible for their reports.
He adds that the proposed bill should not be seen as targeting the critical media or to curtail freedom of speech.