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Senate makes U-turn, approves e-transmission of election results

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The Senate today passed a bill to rescind its earlier decision which subjected the Independent National Electoral Commission to seek approval from the Nigerian Communications Commission before it could transmit elections results electronically.

The upper chamber also voted in support of the conduct of party primaries only by direct method.

The Bill is titled, “Recommittal of amended clauses of a bill for an Act to repeal the Electoral Bill 2021 and enact the Electoral Act 2021.”

Recall that the Senate had in July, during consideration of a report on 2010 Electoral Act ( Amendment ) Bill 2021 submitted by its Committee on INEC, amended clause 52(3) as recommended.

While the clause as presented by the committee in the report says INEC can transmit election results electronically where and when practicable, the Senate passed the amended version which says “INEC can transmit election results electronically subject to confirmation of the NCC based on adequacy and security of National Network.

On its part, the House of Representatives at the time, adopted the clause as originally recommended by committees of both Chambers on INEC.

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.

The two chambers set up a conference Committee to harmonise grey areas in the bill.

The controversial clause 52(3) is now amended to 52(2), which reads: “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.”

On nomination of candidates by parties, the Senate had earlier passed clause 87(1), which allows parties to hold either direct or indirect method of conducting primaries.

The clause is now amended to read: “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”.

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