Senate to introduce diaspora voting, mandate electronic transmission of election results

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The Senate plans to amend the Electoral Act in advance of the 2027 elections, allowing diaspora voters to cast ballots in presidential elections at the very least. This will enable citizens, particularly those serving in essential roles overseas—such as members of the armed forces, paramilitary forces, and other security personnel, as well as staff members of embassies and other citizens—to exercise their right to vote.

In a statement released following their retreat in Ikot Ikpene, Akwa-Ibom state, the Senate also decided to mandate the electronic transmission of results starting with the next general elections in 2027. This includes uploading results sheets used at various stages of result collation and results at the polling unit level.

There were reportedly several agitations to permit Nigerians living overseas to participate in the polls both before and after the election that installed President Bola Tinubu.

A handful of Nigerians also demanded that the BVAS machine’s results be transmitted electronically.

 

The Senate stated that in order to increase the Independent National Electoral Commission’s efficacy and efficiency in organizing and carrying out elections, it was imperative that it be separated into separate entities.

“Regarding the use of technology in elections, eliminate the ambiguity apparent in Section 64 of the EA22,” the communiqué declared. Make electronic transmission of results mandatory starting with the 2027 general elections. This should include uploading results sheets used at various stages of result collation and results at the polling unit level.

Allow citizens to vote, especially those serving critical duty overseas, such as members of the armed forces, paramilitary forces, and other security personnel, embassy employees, and other citizens, by instituting diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections.

Regarding political parties, “specify sanctions for failure to submit the party membership register no later than thirty days prior to the date of party primaries, congresses, or conventions in relation to Section 77(3) EA22, which the political parties have observed in the breach in the 2023 elections without penalty.”

The 10th Senate further stated that it was necessary to create and implement a thorough national security plan outlining the goals, threats, and policy priorities of the country.

The Red Chamber also stated that a plan like this can operate as a foundation for legislation pertaining to security.

It recommended that in order to “address the root causes of terrorism/banditry, which are often driven by poverty, inequality, and a lack of opportunity,”

Encourage community involvement and policing to spot and stop terrorist acts. To recognize and resolve security issues, the government should collaborate with local and traditional communities as well as civil society organizations.

In addition, the Senate declared that it would “establish independent oversight mechanisms for the security sector.” These tools can be used to make sure that security personnel are held legally accountable and to look into claims of abuse and corruption.

The Senate also decided that broad legislative amendments may greatly enhance legislative supervision and participation in Nigeria’s security sector.

According to the explanation, “these reforms are essential for ensuring that the legislative branch is equipped with the necessary tools and mechanisms to fulfill its critical role in security sector reform.”

“The periodic engagement of the National Assembly with the security chiefs for adequate briefing,” the Senate concluded. The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate must be included in the weekly security briefing that the president receives.

The Senate has suggested passing an Emergency Economic Intervention Bill in an effort to improve the nation’s economic circumstances.

“This will address critical socio-economic issues concerning foreign exchange management, tackling inflation, stimulating economic growth, and creating more jobs,” the explanation reads.

“Implement penalties for breaking any laws pertaining to money and finances.

“In order to ensure effective oversight and enforcement of the consequences, as the case may be, amendments to the relevant laws will be necessary.”

The “need for legislation that clearly defines the taxing rights of the three levels of government” was also acknowledged.

“The optimization of revenue from non-oil sources, particularly in the solid mineral sector, requires legislative intervention.”

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