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Omo-Agege Explains Position On E-Transmission Of Election Results, Lebels It ‘Lawmaking Flaw’

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Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president, has explained his position on the clause relating to electronic transmission of results in the recently-passed electoral act amendment bill

The senate and house of representatives, at separate sessions, had passed the bill — but not after heated sessions at both chambers over electronic transmission of results.

The senate had passed the bill and granted the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) powers to certify coverage, subject to approval by the national assembly, before INEC can be allowed to adopt electronic transmission of election results.

On its part, the lower chamber said INEC can take the decision on electronic transmission “where practicable”.

In a statement issued on Saturday by Efe Duku, his media aide, Omo-Agege — who voted against allowing INEC full powers to decide on transmission of results electronically — explained what informed his decision.

According to him, supporting the decision to allow electronic transmission of results in all areas of the country would be “discriminatory”, considering the position of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that there isn’t network coverage across the country.

“The Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege did not vote against E-Transmission of election results. Rather, the Deputy President of the Senate wisely and courageously voted for an amendment to Clause 52(3) of the Bill (on E-Transmission) to guarantee secure E-Transmission of all election results and uniform application of E-Transmission everywhere in the country, not just some parts of it,” the statement reads.

“In simple terms, the Obarisi of Urhoboland voted to support an amendment that ensures, for example, that INEC does not transmit only election results in Urhobo electronically while other areas may have their results transmitted otherwise and safely. For him, all election results must be treated equally under a uniformly applied standard.

“Indeed, Senator Omo-Agege as an erudite lawyer knows that it is unconstitutional for the National Assembly to enact an Electoral Act that is inherently discriminatory in its design and intended application. For him, to pass the test of constitutional validity, the law must apply uniformly to all electoral domains in the country, otherwise such a law could be easily struck down by a court if taken for judicial reviews by those who may be negatively impacted.

“Further, in arriving at his thoughtful decision, Senator Omo-Agege was guided by unimpeached data from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) that E-Transmission of results is only possible in less than 50% of all electoral domains in the country.

“For him, the message from this data is that if INEC is allowed unfettered E-Transmission power, then there will be unequal treatment of election results and that would be a fundamental lawmaking flaw. So, he stood firm to prevent such a move that would have led to a needless waste of legislative resources and time.”

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