The power of the Independent National Electoral Commission to transmit election result electronically is facing a fresh threat as the senate yesterday set up a conference committee on the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The committee, according to some Nigerians, is made up of mostly lawmakers who do not want INEC to have the discretion of transmitting election result electronically.
The members of the committee include senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (chairman); Kabiru Gaya (North-West); Basiru Ajibola (South-West); Danjuma Goje (North-East); Lilian Ekwunife (South-East); and Matthew Urhoghide (South-South).
Apart from Lilian Ekwunife representing the South East, almost all the listed lawmakers voted against INEC having the sole power to transmit election result electronically.
Even though the members of the conference committee are expected to liaise with their counterparts in the House of Representatives to harmonise the two versions of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill passed on July 15, 2021, the Senate Spokesman, Basiru Ajibola who is a member of the committee has earlier rejected the position of the Green chamber.
In July, the Senate passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, one of whose provisions is that INEC must seek clearance from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly before conducting elections electronically and transmitting the results electronically.
Even though most Nigerians and leading civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country, including Yiaga Africa, Centre for Democracy Development (CDD), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) – the umbrella body of all political parties in Nigeria – have insisted on electronic voting and electronic transmission of elections results, curiously, the Nigerian Senate seems to be holding tenaciously to its opposition to their counterparts in the House of Representatives, INEC, CSOs and the general clamour by Nigerians who want INEC to retain the discretion to conduct the election electronically and transmit the results electronically.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who announced members of the harmonization committee at plenary yesterday, said it would be led by Senate Leader, Sen. Abdullahi Yahaya (APC- Kebbi).