Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has kicked against the exclusion of electronic transmission of results in the final version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by the National Assembly expected to be passed into law this month.
IPAC, which is the umbrella body of the 18 registered political parties in Nigeria, in a statement issued yesterday by the national publicity secretary, Ambassador Agbo Major, described the alteration of the bill as a coup against Nigerians, who desire and deserve credible elections.
Major said as the body representing all the political parties and recognised by INEC and a critical stakeholder, IPAC submitted its memoranda on Electoral Act and Constitution amendments, and demanded for electronic voting system and transmission of results in the quest for free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections in Nigeria.
He said, “This was the consensus of all stakeholders at various meetings and public hearings. It is unfair and unjust for the leadership of the National Assembly to thwart and sabotage the will, desire and expectation of Nigerians for credible elections that meet international standards. More importantly, political parties are deregistered for failure to win a legislative seat among others.
It will be an uphill task for political parties not in government to win elections if the process is grossly flawed.
“Election is the beauty of democracy as sovereignty resides in the people. The mandate of the electorate in a free and fair election must be respected.
To do otherwise, is an invitation to anarchy that characterised most elections in Nigeria since independence in 1960.”
He said the National Assembly must rise to the occasion, defend the nation’s frail democracy and expunge the obnoxious Section 50(2) of the proposed electoral bill which states that, “Voting at election under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedures determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting provided that the commission shall not transmit results of the elections by electronic means.”
He noted that this provision makes mockery of the entire electoral amendment and dashed the hopes of patriotic Nigerians of having key reforms in the electoral process.