By John Ikani
After months of bashings from the public over resolution on electronic transmission of election results, the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday rescinded its decision.
The Senate had in July passed the Electoral Act Amendment bill with provisions which allowed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to transmit election results electronically after getting the green light on network coverage from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and approval from the National Assembly.
The bill, as passed by the House of Representatives, gives INEC the sole power to transmit results of elections by electronic means “where and when practicable”.
Since then, the Senate has been in the eye of the storm which made it to rescind the decision.
Fast forward to today, INEC will now have to decide how to transmit election results — either electronically or manually.
While moving a motion to rescind the earlier decision of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday, Yahaya Abdullahi, Senate leader, said there is a need to make “necessary amendments” to the bill.
“After critical examination of the bill by the senate committee on INEC, some fundamental issues which requires fresh legislative action on the following clauses 43, 52, 63 and 87 were observed,” he said.
“Desirous of the need to address the observations by the committee and make necessary amendments; and relying on order 1(b) and 53(b) of the senate standing order.”
Contributing to the debate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senate Minority Leader, said parties should be allowed to use whatever mode of primary election that suits them.
“The original situation was that the party was left with choices to determine what suits them,” Abaribe said.
“Not all parties have capacity to do direct primaries. I think we may have to leave it open.”
Also speaking, Opeyemi Bamidele, senator representing Ekiti central, said the provision for compulsory use of direct primary mode for political parties will ensure that every member of a political party participates in the process.
“With respect to conduct of primaries, this is to ensure that every party member participates in the process,” Bamidele said.
“It is a way of giving power back to the people.”
The four clauses in the bill were approved by the senate in “the committee of the whole” after Senate President Ahmad Lawan put them to voice votes.