Lagos LG Election: Why Card Reader Failed At My Polling Unit – Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila spoke to Channels Television after casting his vote in the Lagos local government elections on July 24, 2021.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila spoke to Channels Television after casting his vote in the Lagos local government elections on July 24, 2021.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila on Saturday expressed disappointment after the card reader at his polling unit failed during the Lagos local government elections.

Mr Gbajabiamila, speaking to Channels Television, said the incident was a sign that Nigeria is not ready for electronic transmission of results, an issue that divided the National Assembly recently.

Referencing election officials, the Speaker said the card reader failed due to poor network coverage.

READ ALSO: INEC, NCC Should Work Together To Conduct Credible Elections – Gbajabiamila

The local government elections had held amid widespread apathy as many voters failed to turn out, according to Channels Television correspondents who monitored the process.

‘Most Important’

The Speaker, who represents Surulere 1 Constituency at the House of Representatives, said local government elections are “most important” because they are closer to the grassroots.

“This is the most important election,” he said. “Many will say Presidential, National Assembly elections.

“For me, it is more important for obvious reasons: the local government elections are where the grassroots is. And as is often said, any house that is built on sand or shaky grounds will crumble.

“You have to have solid ground to build a solid foundation to build a proper house. And that’s where the local government comes to play. These are the people of Nigeria. This is the vote that is closest to them.”

Card reader failure

While addressing the thorny issue of electronic transmission of election results, the Speaker said he supports progress.

However, in his estimation, the country may not yet be ready for a switch to electronic transmission.

“Many of us in the National Assembly want progressive elections and that includes electronic transmission of votes,” he said.

“But many are also acutely aware of the problems they have in their constituencies, where some people believe there is no network coverage. And that has come to play here today in practical terms.

“It is one thing to theorise and say we want electronic transmission, which is what I want and what many of my colleagues want. But it’s another thing to actually see it in operation.

“I came in here and unfortunately, in an urban cosmopolitan area, the card reader is not working.

“And I asked the officials what’s going and they said it hasn’t been working all day. And so they couldn’t really use the card reader. I asked why, they said because of network problems. So I had to fill an incident form.

“So, it’s almost like we are not there yet.”

We Have Capacity For Electronic Transmission In Remote Areas – INEC

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday suggested it has the capacity to transmit election results electronically from remote areas across the country.

Lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly had been at loggerheads over electronic transmission of results earlier in the week.

The House was thrown into disarray on Thursday as members debated section 52(2) of the electoral amendment act bill, which deals with electronic transmission.

Also on Thursday, APC Senators forced through a version of the bill at the Senate that constrained INEC to seek permission from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly before employing electronic voting in any part of the country.

According to the lawmakers opposed to sacrosanct electronic transmission of results, some parts of the country do not have the required network coverage.

An Executive Commissioner at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Adeleke Adewolu, told lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday that only 50 percent of the country has the 3G coverage required for transmission.

But speaking on Channels Television breakfast show on Saturday, INEC’s National Chairman and Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye said the Commission’s position was clear.

“We have uploaded results from very remote areas, even from areas where you have to use human carriers to access,” he said.

“So, we have made our own position very clear, that we have the capacity and we have the will to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process.

“But our powers are given by the constitution and the law, and we will continue to remain within the ambit and confines of the power granted to the commission by the constitution and the law.”

Why PDP Members Are Biased About Electronic Transmission – Reps Majority Leader

 

The majority leader in the House of Representatives, Honourable Ado Doguwa, on Friday suggested his colleagues from the Peoples Democratic Party are biased about issues surrounding the electronic transmission of electoral results because they do not understand the provisions of the amendment.

The House was thrown into disarray on Thursday as members debated section 52(2) of the electoral amendment act bill, which deals with electronic transmission.

On Friday, PDP lawmakers walked out of a session after presiding officer Deputy Speaker Ahmed Wase insisted that section 52(2) had been carried.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Hon. Doguwa, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said the PDP lawmakers were being over-exuberant and desperate.

Majority leader at the House of Representatives, Hon. Ado Doguwa, appeared on Channels Television's Politics Today on July 16, 2021.
Majority leader at the House of Representatives, Hon. Ado Doguwa, appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today on July 16, 2021.

 

He argued that the provisions of the electoral amendment act bill, as passed by the House on Friday, allowed INEC to determine whether it would employ electronic voting or not.

APC Senators on Thursday had forced through a version of the bill at the Senate that constrained INEC to seek permission from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly before employing electronic voting in any part of the country.

“I don’t know what version the Senate has, but in the House of Representatives where I serve as the leader, our provisions in respect to section 52(2) is that voting at an election under this act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Independent National Electoral Commission,” Hon. Doguwa said.

“This goes to prove to you that the House of Representatives is working in tandem with the constitution. We said voting at an election and transmission of results under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission.

“Whether by electronic, manual, or any other technological device, that is left for INEC to determine.”

“The so-called walking out of the PDP members was unfounded and unnecessary because the arguments they came out to protect are already contained in the bill.”

However, Hon. Doguwa said it was not a problem if his party, the APC, was against electronic transmission.

“What’s wrong with not wanting electronic transmission of results? We have over 49.3 percent of the Nigerian population not covered by network and that would amount to absolute disenfranchisement, so it is a political matter,” he said.

Electronic Transmission Of Results: We Can’t Guarantee 100% Safety, NCC Tells Reps

A file photo of lawmakers during plenary at the House of Representatives chamber in Abuja .

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it cannot guarantee total safety for the electronic transmission of results, explaining that no system is completely free from hackers. 

Federal lawmakers had a rowdy session as debates over the inclusion of electronic transmission of results in the Electoral Act Amendment took centre stage in the chambers on Thursday in Abuja.

But the Executive Commissioner of the NCC, Adeleke Adewolu told lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday that while concerns over the electronic transmission of results are genuine, 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.

He, however, explained that for areas without such coverage, poll results can be recorded and thereafter uploaded in places where there is a network. But Adeleke admitted that this cannot be compared with the real-time upload.

READ ALSO: Reps In Disorder As Deputy Speaker Rules Against E-Transmission Of Electoral Results

Senate Backs E-Transmission

A file photo of lawmakers at the Senate chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The House of Representatives had failed to reach an agreement over the controversial clause.

This was after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase ruled against the electronic transmission of results despite a resounding vote in favour of electronic transmission.

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(3).

The Senate had on the same day 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.

 

FULL LIST: How Senators Voted For Electronic Transmission Of Election Results

A file photo of lawmakers at the Senate chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

The Senate on Thursday passed the electoral amendment bill amid tensions over how electronic transmission of votes should be implemented.

A report by the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had suggested that electronic transmission be employed by INEC where practicable, as contained in section 52(3) of the bill.

But Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), during consideration of the report, moved that INEC should only consider electronic transmission if the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Senator Abdullahi’s motion was seconded by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South).

But some Senators disagreed, plunging the Senate into disarray.

Senate minority leader Enyinnanya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South) then called for public voting.

According to Abaribe, the process would allow Nigerians to know who is voting for what.

The Senators proceeded to publicly vote along party lines.

In the end, 28 Senators, all from the PDP, voted for the original amendment in the report while 52 Senators, all from the APC, voted for the amendment as proposed by Senator Abdullahi.

Below is a list of how they voted:

Those who voted for NCC Clearance:

▪︎Ovie Omo-Agege (APC-Delta Central)

▪︎Peter Nwaoboshi (APC-Delta North)

Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South)

▪︎Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti Central)

▪︎Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (APC-Sokoto East)

▪︎Mohammed Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe Central)

▪︎Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf (APC-Taraba Central)

▪︎Bomai Ibrahim Mohammed (APC-Yobe South)

▪︎Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u (APC-Zamfara North)

▪︎Uba Sani (APC-Kaduna Central)

▪︎Kabiru Gaya (APC-Kano South)

▪︎Ishaku Elisha Abbo (APC-Adamawa North)

▪︎Ahmad Babba Kaita (APC-Katsina North)

▪︎Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi Central)

▪︎Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi North)

▪︎Yakubu Oseni (APC-Kogi Central)

▪︎Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi East)

▪︎Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi West)

▪︎Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC-Kwara Central)

▪︎Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos-Central)

▪︎Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos-West)

▪︎Tanko Al-Makura (APC-Nasarawa South)

▪︎Godiya Akwashiki (APC-Nasarawa North)

▪︎Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa West)

▪︎Mohammed Sani Musa (APC-Niger East)

▪︎Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC-Niger North)

▪︎Birma Mohammed Enagi (APC-Niger South)

▪︎Nora Ladi Dadu’ut (APC-Plateau South)

▪︎Francis Alimikhena (APC-Edo North)

▪︎Abubakar Kyari (APC-Borno North)

▪︎Surajudeen Ajibola (APC-Osun Central)

▪︎Robert Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo North)

▪︎Orji Uzor Kalu (APC-Abia North)

▪︎Aderele Oriolowo (APC-Osun West)

▪︎Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC-Adamawa Central)

▪︎Degi Eremienyo (APC-Bayelsa East)

▪︎Ashiru Yisa (APC-Kwara South)

▪︎Bello Mandiya (APC-Katsina South)

▪︎Hezekiah Dimka Ayuba (APC-Plateau Central)

▪︎Francis Ibezim (APC-Imo North)

▪︎Kashim Shettima (APC-Borno Central)

▪︎Stephen Odey (APC-Cross River North)

▪︎Shuaibu Isa Lau (APC-Taraba North)

▪︎Alkali Saidu (APC-Gombe North)

▪︎Amos Bulus (APC-Gombe South)

▪︎Danladi Sankara (APC-Jigawa North-West)

▪︎Hadejia Hassan Ibrahim (APC-Jigawa North-East)

▪︎Suleiman Abdul Kwari (APC-Kaduna North)

▪︎Abdullahi Barkiya (APC-Katsina Central)

▪︎Jika Dauda Haliru (APC-Bauchi Central)

▪︎Lawali Anka (APC-Zamfara West)

▪︎Lawal Yahaya Gamau (APC-Bauchi South)

Those who voted for INEC to unilaterally decide to transmit results

▪︎Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia South)

▪︎Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun East)

▪︎Clifford Ordia (PDP-Edo Central)

▪︎Matthew Urhoghide (PDP-Edo South)

▪︎Gyang Istifanus (PDP-Plateau North)

▪︎George Sekibo (PDP-Rivers East)

▪︎Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti South)

▪︎Mpigi Barinada (PDP-Rivers South-East)

▪︎Betty Apiafi (PDP-Rivers West)

▪︎Philip Aduda (PDP-Abuja FCT)

▪︎Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu North)

▪︎Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba (PDP-Sokoto South)

▪︎Danjuma La’ah (PDP-Kaduna South)

▪︎Francis Onyewuchi (PDP-Imo East)

▪︎Patrick Ayo Akinyelure (PDP-Ondo Central)

▪︎Kola Balogun (PDP-Oyo South)

▪︎Eyankeyi Akon Etim (PDP-Akwa Ibom South)

▪︎Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP-Akwa Ibom North-West)

▪︎Seriake Dickson (PDP-Bayelsa West)

▪︎Cleopas Zuwoghe (PDP-Bayelsa Central)

▪︎Emmanuel Orker-jev (PDP-Benue North-West)

▪︎Sandy Onor (PDP-Cross River Central)

▪︎Gershom Bassey (PDP-Cross River South)

▪︎James Manager (PDP-Delta South)

▪︎Obinna Ogba (PDP-Ebonyi Central)

▪︎Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi North)

▪︎Nnachi Ama Micheal (PDP-Ebonyi South)

▪︎Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP Akwa Ibom North-East)

Senators who were absent

▪︎Theodore Orji (PDP-Abia Central)

▪︎Yaroe Binos Dauda (PDP-Adamawa South)

▪︎Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra North)

▪︎Ike Ekweramadu (PDP-Enugu West)

▪︎Patrick Ifieanyi Uba (YPP-Anambra South)

▪︎Adetokunbo Abiru (APC-Lagos East)

▪︎Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC-Kebbi South)

▪︎Tolu Odebiyi (APC-Ogun West)

▪︎Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun Central)

▪︎Olalekan Mustapha (APC-Ogun East)

▪︎Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP-Ondo South)

▪︎Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central)

▪︎Buhari Abdulfatai (APC-Oyo North)

▪︎Aliyu Wamakko (APC-Sokoto North)

▪︎Ibrahim Shekarau (APC-Kano Central)

▪︎Lilian Uche Ekwunife (PDP-Anambra Central)

▪︎Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue North-East)

▪︎Abba Moro (PDP-Benue South)

▪︎Mohammed Bulkachuwa (APC-Bauchi North)

▪︎Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP-Taraba South)

▪︎Mohammed Hassan (APC-Zamfara Central)

▪︎Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC-Ekiti North)

▪︎Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP-Enugu East)

▪︎Rochas Okorocha (APC-Imo West)

▪︎Mohammed Sabo (APC-Jigawa South-West)

▪︎Barau Jibrin (APC-Kano North)

▪︎Ibrahim Gaidam (APC-Yobe East)

▪︎Umar Sadiq (APC-Kwara North)