The Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly (SNPA) has described as shocking the decision of the National Conference to adopt the “open voting system” in taking critical decisions at the plenary.
The group in a statement endorsed by its Coordinating Chairman, Chief Ayakeme Whisky, said for such decision to come from a supposed well-enlightened assembly of Nigerians was anachronistic narcissistic, mundane and outdated 19th century voting procedure that was best practiced in rural meetings in 21st century modern democracy.
“The decision at best is a crude attempt to stifle and prevent free expression of consent. We see it both as a ploy to intimidate, cajole and repress dissent, which is an intrinsic requirement of every democratic culture. Therefore the said decision is unacceptable to the people of southern Nigeria.
“We wish to state that democracy thrives on free expression of opinion. And the right to do so during the process of voting without intimidation and molestation is sacrosanct. Except for want of being mischievous to achieve some ulterior motives, this fact is known to all democratic apostles in Nigeria, hence secret voting has become the preferred and most cherish democratic method of voting in decision-making all over the world,” the statement said.
The group regretted that while assemblies in other countries have progressed from casting ballot into boxes to electronic voting, an assembly such as the national conference, chaired by an erudite jurist was expected to take critical decisions to transform and restructure Nigeria from its present stage of near comatose to a vibrant cohesive country of national stability and unity, will in good conscience, adopt an anachronistic mode of voting.