Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, the Senior Team Manager, Africa Programme, Open Society Justice Initiative, has harped on the need for election results to be collated and transmitted digitally.
Odinkalu, who is the former Chairman, Governing Board of National Human Rights Commission made the call in Abuja on Thursday on the sidelines the New Media, Citizens &Governance Conference (#NMCG2018) organised by Paradigm Initiative, Enough is Enough and BudgIT.
The conference had the theme: Government, New Media and Civic Spaces.
He said that transmitting election results digitally would assist in eliminating the complications in collating and management of elections results.
He said: “The biggest problem we have is with collation, how to make sure that results don’t get corrupted between the polling unit and Independent National Electoral Commission.
“Instead of moving papers, people and numbers from the polling to collation, local government collation, state collation and national collation.
“There are 119,973 polling units that will be in existence in 2019 elections.
“If everyone of this polling unit is in a place that is covered by digital data transmission capability can we not simply transmit those.
“Can we not do that in 2019, if we can’t do that in 2019 what about 2023?”
Speaking on social media usage during elections, he said that as citizens, “we have a responsibility to keep the country together’’.
According to him, in an election where the country is going to be disturbed or troubled, all social media users including INEC, political parties, the police and other security agencies should not create a situation that make it worse.
Odinkau said: “All have to first of all care about the country and have mutual responsibility by pulling back for the country to have space to survive.’’
Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, said that conference holding four months before the 2019 general elections came at the right time.
Sesan said that the conference would provide a vibrant platform to dissect issues likely to impact the elections and citizens’ engagement in the digital space.
He said: “We have these conversations to follow the growth of digital space in the country and how to interact with politics and government.’’
A participant, Emmanuel Alebiosu, the Department of Political Science, Federal University, Wukari said that conference was to inform the citizens on the use of social media for the 2019 election.