Reps Pass Electoral Act Amendment Bill After Opposition Lawmakers Walk Out
The House of Representatives has passed the Electoral Amendment Bill, moments after opposition lawmakers walked out of the heated session at the National Assembly chambers in Abuja on Friday.
Nigeria’s lower chamber passed the bill after a clause-by-clause consideration.
The house passed the majority of the 158 clauses of the bill intact including Clause 52 (2), which had led to controversy and debate.
The clause provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shall determine the mode of voting/transmission of election results.
The retained Clause 52 (2) reads, “Voting at election and transmission of results in this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”
Attempts by some lawmakers to amend the clause were the cause of heated debate and rowdiness during plenary on Thursday.
On Friday, the situation was no different as the debate over the clause resulted in opposition lawmakers majorly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) walking out of the session as they insisted that the clause was never carried.
They threatened to disrupt the proceedings when the House resumes from break.
On Thursday, the Green Chamber failed to reach a consensus over the much-debated clause after the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wale ruled against the electronic transmission of election results in spite of a resounding vote in favour of the move.
Subsequently, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NCC would be present on Friday to give further clarifications on the Electoral Act with a major focus on section 52(2).
The NCC which later honoured the invitation of the House of Reps explained that it cannot guarantee a 100% percent safety of results for the electronic transmission of results, explaining that no system is completely free from hackers.
NCC’s Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Adeleke Adewolu admitted that no system can guarantee a 100 percent shield from hacking.
The NCC boss also stated that elections results can only be transmitted by a 3G network, noting that 50 percent of the country has 3G coverage.
Already, the Senate had voted for the conditional electronic transmission of election results.
At the end of voting, 28 Senators mostly from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) voted for the original amendment in the report while 52 Senators backed the amendment as proposed by Senator Sabi Abdullahi.
This means the majority of Senators voted that INEC may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by NCC and approved by the National Assembly.