Hi Nigerians have continued to air their dissatisfaction after the Nigerian Senate entrusted the decision to electronically transmit election results to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly. To many of them, the decision denies the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the power to conduct elections without interference.
Today; the Nigerian Senate voted to deny INEC power to transmit election results electronically. We all know what they are afraid of. If results were sent electronically immediately after polls and can be monitored by all in real-time, there would be very little room for fraud.
The former senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sanni, noted that the decision makes NCC and NASS electoral bodies in Nigeria. He also explained that the amendment would give the ruling party the power to approve or disapprove the release of electoral results.
The Nigerian Senate, on Thursday’s plenary, said the INEC will be allowed to transmit results electronically but the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) must adjudge that the mode of electronic transfer is adequate and secure. The National Assembly must then approve it.
“Before INEC can e-transmit, NCC must adjudge national coverage is adequate and secure, and NASS must approve”
Section 52(3), Electoral Act.
Recall, that Technext earlier reported that the updated Electoral Bill submitted by the senate included a section that outlawed the electronic transmission of election results.
This announcement was met with backlash both from some members of the senate and stakeholders in the space including the former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega.
According to him, the plan by the National Assembly to exclude electronic transmission of results in the new Electoral Reform Bill is counterproductive
After the latest plenary, the bill has been amended again. While the electronic transmission was approved, INEC’s right as sole player in the decision to electronically transmit election results was withdrawn.
The latest amendment was raised by Senator Sabi Abdullahi and seconded by Senator Ali Ndume. It was, however, challenged by Senate minority leader, Enyinnanya Abaribe, who called for a public vote.
The amendment was adopted after 52 senators voted in favour and 28 against but Nigerians are vehemently against the decision.
“The above proviso of Section 52(3) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 is in conflict with Section 78 of the Constitution 1999. Section 78 of the Constitution 1999 provides: The registration of voters and conduct of elections shall be subject to the DIRECTION and SUPERVISION of INEC,”Nigerian lawyer, Abdul Mahmud said.
As things stand, INEC now has the option to use electronic transmission of results during the next general election in 2023 although the NCC has to certify that there’s sufficient coverage for effective transmission and the National Assembly must approve it.