The Nigerian Senate has given the go-ahead of the electronic transmission of election results proposed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), going against its initial stance that prohibited INEC from doing so.
This decision was made at the senate plenary today. According to the Senate, the Independent National Electoral Commission reserve the right to determine how it chooses to conduct elections and transmit election results. It also said that the Commission could transmit results electronically if need be.
This decision was made by the Senate amidst criticisms and condemnations from the public regarding the Senate’s initial decision. Many believe that INEC is an independent body and by such, must be allowed to conduct elections in the manner they deem most appropriate.
Earlier this year, the Independent National Electoral Commission had presented its new Electoral Act Amendment bill, which gave the Commission authority to transmit election results electronically where practicable.
However, in July this year, the Nigerian Senate had said INEC cannot have the sole right to make such decisions on its own. The Senate also claimed it had the constitutional backing to counter INEC’s move.
Subsequently, the Senate passed a bill that stated that INEC can only transmit election results electronically after receiving approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly. Notwithstanding, the Senate, today, has given INEC the go-ahead to transmit election results electronically.
The controversial bill has now been amended by the Senate and reads thus:
“Subject to section 63 of this Bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission (INEC), which may include electronic voting.”
It is important to note that the new bill, apart from addressing issues concerning electronic voting, will also address the nomination of candidates by political parties.
The Senate had initially passed clause 87(1), permitting political parties to select either a direct or indirect system of conducting primaries. However, the clause has now been amended to read thus:
“A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.”