The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has given reasons to justify the senate’s decision on the electronic transmission of electoral results.
His reaction follows the vote by the senate that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may consider the electronic transmission of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.
Lawan explained that the senate voted the way it did during the consideration of the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill, in defence of about half of the Nigerian voters whose votes may not be counted with immediate deployment or application of electronic transmission of election results.
This disclosure was made by the Senate President while speaking to the press while on a constituency visit to his Yobe North Senatorial District over the weekend.
What the Senate President said about the passage of the electoral bill
Lawan said, “I’m happy that we have been able to pass the amendment even though some people are complaining of what we have passed in the Senate and probably what the House of Representatives has also passed.
“When the majority of Senators voted against immediate application or deployment of electronic transmission of results from the polling units, to the ward, to the local government, states and federal, they didn’t say they do not believe in electronic transmission (of election results).
“All of us in the Senate, 109 of us, believe that at one point, our electoral process must deploy electronic transmission so that it eases and enhances the electoral process and give it more credibility and integrity.
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“But you see, when you have not reached that stage where you could deploy the electronic transmission from every part of the country, then you have to be very careful. And no matter what anybody may say, you cannot have about 50 percent of Nigerian voters not participating or not getting their votes counted in elections and say it doesn’t matter, that we have to start the electronic transmission.
“We know the evils of not transmitting results electronically but compare the evils of electronically transmitting just half of the electoral votes from Nigerians and say you have elected a President with 50 percent only.
“And others have voted but their results or their votes could not be electronically transmitted. This is disenfranchising Nigerians and we are not going to support this kind of thing because essentially, we are supposed to be fair to every part of Nigeria and when we voted, every part of Nigeria voted for and against(the amendment).
“What I mean here is that you have Senators from the northern part of Nigeria who voted for electronic transmission. Maybe that is their belief or their environment is ready for electronic transmission. And you have Senators from the southern part of Nigeria who voted against the immediate deployment of electronic transmission but they support that the electronic transmission of results should be allowed after certain conditions are met and the conditions are simple: The National Communication Commission(NCC) had provided the technical information that only NCC could give – that only about 50 percent of the Nigerian environment, the polling units, in the country could possibly have their results electronically transmitted.
“So what happens to the other 50 percent. So we believe that all of us in the Senate were aiming at the same target but chose to go through different routes and that is why in my concluded remarks in the Senate after the debate and voting, I said there was no Victor, no Vanquish because we all meant well.
“And for those Nigerians who still feel that the electronic transmission should have just been allowed to take effect, I said well, this is how democracy works. Democracy is to allow those minority views to be expressed and democracy provides that the majority views will always prevail.”
The Senate President faulted some media reports that insinuated that only the APC Senators voted against the immediate application of the electronic transmission of results.
He said that the votes on the subject matter were cut across party lines and regional divides as both APC and PDP senators voters against the immediate electronic transmission of the result. He frowned at the idea of some people targeting only APC senators.
What you should know
Nairametrics had on Thursday, July 15, 2021, voted in favour of the conditional transmission of electoral results, insisting that INEC may only electronically transmit election results if the Nigerian Communications Commission endorses the mode of electronic transfer as safe and secure.
The latest amendment which was presented by Senator Sabi Abdullahi and seconded by Senator Ali Ndume was challenged by Senate minority leader, Enyinnanya Abaribe, who called for a public vote.
However, the Senate session turned rowdy immediately after the decision as some senators contested the amendment of the section, forcing a closed-door session.