Electoral Act: Redeem your image, Middle Belt, Southern leaders tell NASS
The Southern and Middle-Belt Alliance has advised the Senate “to redeem its already battered image” by using the opportunity of the conference committee on the Electoral Act to vote in favour of electronic transmission of election results.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had on Wednesday, set up a conference committee of the Senate which would meet with the House of Representatives team to resolve the impasse on the electronic transmission of election results.
The Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya would lead the committee which also included, Senators Kabiru Gaya (North-West), Ajibola Basiru (South-West), Danjuma Goje (North-East), Uche Ekwunife (South-East), Sani Musa (North-Central), and Mathew Urhoghide (South-South) as members.
A close observation of the seven-member committee members revealed that only one of them (Urhoghide) voted in support of the electronic transmission of results when there was a division on the issue.
Ekwunife was not available to cast her vote while the remaining four voted against the electronic transmission of results until the Independent National Electoral Commission got approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly.
The Senate had passed an amendment to the Electoral Act which mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission to seek the approval of the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly before it could transmit election results electronically.
But SAMBA in a statement by its Spokesperson, Rwang Pam, on Thursday, titled, ‘Electoral Act: A unique opportunity to redeem battered image, SAMBA tells Senate,” cautioned the red chamber not to work against the interest of Nigerians.
The group stated that the seven-member senate committee should adopt the House of Representatives version of Section 52 (3), of the Bill.
SAMBA further warned that the Senate should not subject the powers of the INEC, to the approval of the NCC and National Assembly.
It stated that the Conference Committee, “is a golden opportunity for the Senate to redeem its battered image as a result of its prior decision to subject the Independent National Electoral Commission’s power to transmit election results through electronic means to the approval of the NCC and National Assembly.”
Part of the statement read, “SAMBA recommends that the transmission of Election results via electronic means should be as a matter of importance, be part of INEC’s core functions as it minimises the plausibility of interference.
“The transmission of elections results by electronic means is the pathway to a trusted, valid, free and fair election results.
“If the Senate truly believed in trusted, free and fair elections, then the use of electronic means to transmit elections results must and should be included in the Electoral Act.
“We expect the senators in the Conference Committee to adopt section 52 (3) House of Representatives version of the amendment bill.
” It stipulates that the Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable”
“Adopting the House of Representatives version of the bill will give credibility to our elections which in turn will earn the country a respectable position among the comity of nations.
“Failure to embrace the electronic transfer of election results will make Nigeria, and, the National Assembly a laughingstock.
“We, therefore, emphasise that the transmission of Elections results through electronic means is the pathway to a trusted, valid, free and fair elections in Nigeria,”
This post was written by Sunday Aborisade and was first published at punchng.com