By Yemi Akintomide
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) now has sole authority over the means of transmission of election results, thanks to legislation passed by the Senate.
This came after the Senate reversed its earlier decision on Tuesday, allowing INEC to explore electronic results transmission “if national [network] coverage is assessed to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.
The Senate resolved that “voting during an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in conformity with the procedure set by the Commission, which may include electronic voting,” under a new addition to Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The Senate made the decision as part of a bill to recommit some clauses in the Electoral Act Repeal and Re-Enactment measure, which had previously been enacted independently by the Senate and House of Representatives.
Majority Leader Yahaya Abdullahi, who presented a motion for the revisions in the Senate, stated that following a careful study of the Bill by the Senate Committee on INEC, several basic issues had emerged.
The manner of primaries to be used by political parties is addressed in Section 87.
The Senate had previously decided that parties should use either direct or indirect primaries during the modification of the electoral statute.
However, according to the findings of its INEC Committee, some legislators favored direct primaries while others did not.
Senator Adamu AlIero said that direct primaries will improve and deepen democracy while also making the electoral process more transparent. He claims it will prolong a system that will be hijacked by money bags.
The Senate, however, decided to delete the part allowing for the selection of a certain mode of primaries, based on the findings of the INEC Committee. Some legislators support direct primaries, while others oppose them.
Senator Adamu AlIero stated that direct primaries will improve and deepen democracy while also making the electoral process more transparent.
Senator Smart Adeyemi, on the other hand, disagreed, endorsing indirect primaries.
Senator Adeyemi believes that indirect primaries are preferable for the country because the majority of party members are illiterate and will need to be educated before being asked to vote.
After the debate, the majority of lawmakers voted in favour of direct primaries and it was adopted by the Senate.