E-transmission of election results: Senate grants INEC sole power to determine mode

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…As PDP kicks against approval of direct primaries for political parties

By Joshua Elekwachi & Uthman Salami

The Senate in yesterday succumbed to pressure that hovered around their earlier decision over electronic transmission of results.

Increased calls were previously made by the public that election results should be transmitted electronically.

Owing to this pressure, the Senate finally gave the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results.

Earlier, the Senate had decided that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

However, under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting.”

While presenting a motion for the amendment before the Senate plenary yesterday, the Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said after a critical examination of the Bill by the Senate Committee on INEC, some fundamental issues were observed which required fresh legislative action. He listed the clauses that required action as 43,52,62,87.

PDP kicks against approval of indirect primaries for political parties

Meanwhile, the Senate has approved direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions

The red Chamber approved Clause 87 to read “a political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.”

The chamber explained that the decision to subject the amended clauses of the bill to re-committal was reached after critical examination by the Senate Committee on INEC.

The Section 87 deals with the method of primaries to be adopted by political parties.

Senate had earlier adopted during the amendment of the electoral act that parties should adopt either direct or indirect primaries.

However, based on the observation by its INEC Committee, the lawmakers supported direct primaries while some others did not.

Senator Adamu AlIero supported direct primaries arguing that it will strengthen and deepen democracy and will make the electoral process transparent. He said it will elongate a system where money bags will hijack the process.

Based on the observation by its INEC Committee, the Senate opted for a repeal of the section to select a specific method of primaries. Some lawmakers support direct primaries while some others do not.

Senator Adamu AlIero argued in favour of direct primaries, saying that it will strengthen and deepen democracy and will make the electoral process transparent.

However, Senator Smart Adeyemi disagreed, throwing his support for indirect primaries.

According to Senator Adeyemi, indirect primaries is better for the country because the majority of party members are illiterate and they will need enlightenment if they are going to be asked to come out and vote. He added that indirect primaries are cheaper to conduct.

After the debate, the majority of lawmakers voted in favour of direct primaries and it was adopted by the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the passage of the bill, by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Senate, of direct primary for the nomination of candidates for election, in all political parties, as a retrogressive provision that seeks to wipe off all the gains achieved in our electoral practice since 1999.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan which was made available to Nigerian NewsDirect.

According to Ologbondiyan, “the decision by the APC-controlled Senate is a humongous blow to the development of democratic norms and a plot to introduce anarchy during internal party elections as currently obtainable in the APC.

“The PDP holds that the provision is aimed at increasing the costs of nomination procedures thereby surrendering the processes to money bags against the wishes and aspiration of Nigerians.

“Our party makes bold to state that with the exception of the APC, which intends to deploy looted funds in future election, hardly will there be any political party that will be able to raise the cost of conducting internal elections under a direct primary process.

“This is why the decision of the Senate has elicited widespread rejection from Nigerians across board.

“The PDP therefore urges the Senate to immediately deploy its appropriate legislative instruments to reverse itself on the wishes and aspiration of majority of Nigerians.”

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