The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has opposed the rejection of electronic transmission of election results by a self-serving National Assembly in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, insisting that it has the capacity to transmit election results electronically from remote areas across Nigeria.
Speaking on Channels Television breakfast show on Saturday, Mr Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Chairman and Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, said the Commission’s position was clear.
He said, “We have uploaded results from very remote areas, even from areas where you have to use human carriers to access.
“So, we’ve made our own position very clear, that we have the capacity and we’ve the will to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process.
“But our powers are given by the constitution and the law, and we’ll continue to remain within the ambit and confines of the power granted to the commission by the constitution and the law.”
The House of Representatives had on Friday passed the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, maintaining the controversial Clause 52(2) as presented amid protests by members of the minority caucus.
The clause gives the Independent National Electoral Commission the discretion to determine when, where and how voting and transmission of results will be done.
House Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila rejected the proposed electronic transmission of election results, claiming it is not feasible in the country.
The speaker said, “I want to use this opportunity to talk to people out there … We all want electronic transmission of results, but based on the information from experts, it is not as easy as it sounds. We must get our electoral process right and when the time is right, we can come back and amend the law.
“So, I don’t think that electronic voting is feasible right now. What we have been talking about is electronic transmission, and from what we have been told today (Friday), we need to do more work so that everybody’s vote will be counte.”
The Senate had earlier on Thursday passed the long-awaited Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021, ruling out the possibility of having results transmitted electronically.
Rather th red chamber voted that the NCC, with the National Assembly’s approval, would determine whether INEC could transmit results electronically or not.
Majority of Nigerians failed to grasp the logic of the national assembly in rejecting the electronic transmission of election results.
A constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Dr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), in an angry reaction said the national assembly has murdered democracy in Nigeria.
He said this on Saturday while delivering a special lecture at the 2021 graduation ceremony/prize-giving ceremony of the Pacesetters School in Abuja.
Mr. Ozekhome condemned the rejection of electronic transmission of election results by NASS, calling it a national tragedy.
He said, “The national tragedy in the last two days at the National Assembly is for the sole interest of politicians in order to rig elections.
“Why did we choose to kill electronic voting when across the world, even in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they are using it? You are even now making INEC to be no longer independent.”