Sunday, July 25, 2021

Electoral Act: Reps Invite INEC, NCC Heads

…As Senate rules on electronic transmission of results 

House of Reps
House of Representatives

The House of Representatives on Thursday adjourned sitting till Friday, July16, 2021 following heated argument and rowdy session that characterized the clause-by-clause consideration of the Electoral Act amendment, particularly the electronic transmission of election results.

To calm frayed nerves, it resolved to invite the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the executive vice chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta to appear before it to throw more light on whether the electronic transmission of election results was the way forward or not.

Clause 50-54 which entails the electronic transmission of votes has been a bone of contention in the House following the consideration of the report done by the deputy speaker, Ahmed Idris.

The lawmakers from the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) insisted on electronic transmission of results in the general elections, while most members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) kicked against it, saying instead that both manual and electronic transmission should be allowed. While the argument lasted, the final consideration of the report could not go on.

However, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila ruled that the House which ought to have proceeded on its long recess on Thursday adjoin till the next day for both the INEC and NCC leaders to appear before it to throw more light on the contentious issue and guide the house in its resolution.  

In the senate, the matter also generated the same heated argument and controversy prompting the senate president, Ahmad Lawan, to call for an executive session where it was resolved that individual senator vote on it.

The decision to vote individually was sequel to a point of order raised by the Senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, shortly after the lawmakers returned from an executive session.

In the end, a total of 52 senators voted to empower the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly to determine the use of electronic transmission in an election, while 28 voted against it. A total of 28 senators were absent during the voting process.

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