Senate Bows, Empowers INEC To Electronically Transmit Election Results

Senate Bows, Empowers INEC To Electronically Transmit Election Results

As if bowing to the backlash from Nigerians, the Senate on Tuesday amended Clause 52(3) of the Electoral Amendment Bill to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decide whether to use electronic voting and transfer of results during elections.

Ezenwoko’s Blog reports that this represents a reversal of the Chambers’ resolution in July that INEC can transmit elections results electronically with approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly. This attracted lots of criticism from Nigerians

The clause has now been changed from; “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable” to; “The commission may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.”

This followed a motion titled: “Motion for recommittal” sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), who told his colleagues that there is a need to make the “necessary amendments” to the bill.

“After a critical examination of the bill by the senate committee on INEC, some fundamental issues which require fresh legislative action on the following clauses 43, 52, 63 and 87 were observed.

“Desirous of the need to address the observations by the committee and make necessary amendments; and relying on order 1(b) and 53(b) of the senate standing order,” he said.

Contributing to the debate, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe said parties should be allowed to use whatever mode of primary election that suits them.

His words, “The original situation was that the party was left with choices to determine what suits them. Not all parties have capacity to do direct primaries. I think we may have to leave it open.”

Also speaking, Opeyemi Bamidele, senator representing Ekiti central, said the provision for compulsory use of direct primary mode for political parties will ensure that every member of a political party participates in the process.

“With respect to the conduct of primaries, this is to ensure that every party member participates in the process.

“It is a way of giving power back to the people,” Bamidele said.

The Senate also amended clause 87 of the bill to mandate political parties to hold only direct primaries for candidates seeking elective positions. Two other clauses in the bill were approved by the Senate in “the committee of the whole” after the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan put them to voice votes.

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