Senate Denies Reversing Itself – Spokesman

By Ogechi Okorie

Abuja (Precise Post) – The Senate has denied reversing itself on the e-transmission of result.

Speaking through it’s pokesperson, Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC) Osun State Central, said that the red chamber did not reverse itself on the issue of electronic transmission of results.

Rather, Basiru told reporters after plenary that the Senate only deleted Clause 52 (3) to align with the provision on Clause 43 and  63.
Basiru said, “We revoked that section of our standing order to recommit section 43, 52, 63, and 87 of the passed Electoral Bill for re-committal subject to further amendments at the committee of the whole. The amendment was taken.

“The substance of the amendment are for section 43- seeking to introduce electronic voting machine as one of the materials that an agent of a party would be entitled to inspect and to also empower INEC  provide where they have the competence to do so- Electronic Voting Machine for the election.
“So, the amendment for section 43(2) relate to two sub-sections.
“One; Section 43(1) which now reads, the commission shall provide suitable boxes, electronic voting machine or any other voting device for the conduct of elections.
“So that this would allow INEC where they have the necessary wherewithal and competence, they don’t need to come back for us to introduce electronic voting machine as part of the materials they will use for election.”
Existing law stipulates  manual collation, amendments require Buhari’s assent – INECCommenting on the U-turn made the Senate, INEC  insisted that it had “adequate structures and processes” to transmit results of elections in the country electronically.
It also said while it had the capacity to transmit the result of the Anambra State governorship election slated for November 6 electronically, the nation’s existing laws only allowed manual collation.

The Chief Press Secretary to the commission’s chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen, stated that the commission would wait till after the President had assented the amendments by the National Assembly, including electronic transmission of election results.

 One of our correspondents had asked Oyekanmi if the commission already had any arrangement in place to transmit results electronically in view of the decision of the Senate to a bill which gave INEC sole power to determine the procedure for the transmission of election results.

He was also asked if it was possible for the process to transmit results electronically starting from the Anambra election.
But Oyekanmi said the amendments being carried out would take time since it would still be transmitted to the President for assent.

He said, “The Independent National Electoral Commission has developed adequate structures and processes to successfully undertake electronic transmission of result.

“We believe that the technology and national infrastructure in the country at the moment are adequate to support it.
“The commission has the capacity to transmit the Anambra governorship election results electronically, given the opportunity.

“However, let us not forget that the subsisting law stipulating manual collation of results has neither been repealed nor changed at this point.

“The amendments being undertaken at the moment would still have to be transmitted to Mr. President for his assent.”

Meanwhile, the PDP on Tuesday evening accused the All Progressives Congress-led National Assembly of dealing a huge blow to Nigeria’s democratic gains with its imposition of the for the nomination of party candidates.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said this in a statement titled, “Direct Primary: APC Is Rolling Back Our Democracy- PDP,” which he signed in Abuja, on Tuesday.

He said, “The PDP describes the passage by the 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.

“The party says 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 elections, 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 as it is not operable and does not reflect the wishes and aspiration of the majority of Nigerians.”
Attempts to get a response from the APC were futile. Calls to the mobile telephone number of the party’s National Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited as of the time of sending this report.

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