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‘We Bowed To Public Pressure On E-transmission Of Results’ – Nigerian Senate Confesses

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The Senate bowed to public expectation and interest by reversing itself on electronic transmission of election results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, said last night.

Both chambers of the National Assembly passed different version of the sections 43, 52, 63 and 87 of the Electoral Act of electronic transmission of results.

While the Senate version said INEC must obtain permission of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly before deploying technology during elections, the House version permits the electoral agency to use its discretion.

Many Nigerians chided the Senate. INEC also said the version passed by the Senate would compromise its independence.

The INEC insisted it had the capacity to transmit election results across the country.

At plenary yesterday, the Senate examined the recommendations of the Conference Committee of both chambers which dumped the version of the amendment Act earlier passed by the Senate.

The Senate in plenary through voice vote okayed e-transmission of results by the electoral commission.

The Senate went further to endorse the proposal that INEC should be free to use electronic voting.

The Senate also approved an amendment, which provides that political parties would henceforth, use only the direct mode of primary to nominate candidates for elections.

The resolutions of the Senate followed a motion titled: “Motion for recommittal” sponsored by Senate Leader Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North).

Shedding light on the decision, Senator Basiru said the conference committee looked at four sections of the proposed bill-43, 52, 63 and 87.

On Section 43, he said the committee allowed INEC to deploy electronic machines while the party agents are also at liberty to inspect the machines.

The senator said Section 52, which has to do with the transmission of results, raised two concerns.

The first concern, in his view, is the possibility of disenfranchising the electorate in areas where there are no networks.

The second is the possibility of hacking the system.

However, the Senate spokesman pointed out that when the Act was reviewed, it was discovered that Section 63 of the bill passed in the two chambers had provided a clue.

Quoting a part of the section, Basiru said the implication is that election must be concluded and the result entered on the form at the polling booth.

He said: “The result must be counted and recorded on the form. Therefore, it is not automatic transmission. Results can only be transmitted after the conclusion of election. The result must be on the form before the transmission.

Basiru added that while the recourse to the NCC has been discarded, INEC can resort to the technological method of choice.

He said: “We use the word transfer, not transmit, after the recording of results at polling units.”

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