Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, says the hitch-free conduct of the recent Ijaw National Congress (INC) election through electronic voting indicated that Nigeria can hold rancour-free national elections by adopting such measures.
Diri who stated this during the inauguration of the new INC leadership at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting to avoid conflicts during elections.
He noted that the failure of the country’s electoral body to adopt e-voting has led to politicisation of revered state institutions and disrespect to such institutions.
The governor also explained that the adoption of e-voting would provide an opportunity for Nigerians in the Diaspora to choose their leaders through the ballot.
He said: “I am an advocate and supporter of electronic voting system. Many Nigerians have been denied the right to vote because they are not in Nigeria and cannot participate in choosing their leaders.
“It is a challenge to Nigeria. Let the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be challenged. If the Ijaws can do it, the Federal Government can also do it.
“If Ijaws can enfranchise Ijaws in Europe and America to be part of deciding who leads them, INEC can equally do it. It will check violence, criminality and state institutions being politicised,” he said.
In his inaugural address, the new INC President, Professor Benjamin Okaba, assured that the body would work for the progress of the Ijaw people.
Prof. Okaba noted that the INC fully supported the recent pronouncement by governors of southern Nigeria prohibiting open grazing in the region, saying the organisation would provide the necessary support to ensure adherence to laws aimed at protecting the people and their land against invasion from external forces.
He stated that INC would collaborate with other ethnic minorities that share the same experiences with the Ijaws to achieve their dreams, said the ethnic group was aware of surreptitious moves by some groups to annex territories in the Niger Delta because of its resources, but that no part of Ijaw would be ceded or conquered.