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The lawmakers had come under fire after it was reported that the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) removed the much-desired provision empowering the electoral commission to transmit results electronically.
The controversial, new provision reads, “Voting at an election under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedures determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting provided that the commission shall not transmit results of the election by electronic means.”
The development has since been met with sharp criticisms by Nigerians and civil societies organisations who accused the National Assembly of subverting the proposed amendment and trying to rig the 2023 general elections.
The Southern Governors Forum (SGF), in a communiqué issued after its meeting in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State on Monday, expressed their dissatisfaction with the development.
The governors also rejected the exclusive jurisdiction of pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.
“In order to consolidate our democracy and strengthen the electoral process, the Southern Governors Forum rejects the removal of the electronic transmission of the election result from the Electoral Act and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court,” the communique said.
However, according to ThisDay, some members of the Senate Committee on INEC who were not aware of the removal had, in a meeting of the entire committee on Monday, insisted that the bill must be reviewed before its final submission and passage.
It was gathered that some of the committee members, who were apparently embarrassed by the report that the bill banned the electronic transmission of election results, expressed concerns and emphasised the need for the committee to revisit the report.
Some committee members were said to have called the leadership of the Senate, saying they were not part of the decision by the committee to insert the clause that foreclosed the electronic transfer of votes.
It was learnt that members of the committee insisted that all the clauses in the draft bill should be taken one after the other to avoid any misrepresentation.
The Senate president has denied that the National Assembly under him was working to rig the 2023 general elections.
He spoke in Abuja during the inauguration of the National Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC).
“Let me seize this opportunity to react to insinuations being made against the leadership of the National Assembly as regards the 2010 Electoral Act ( Amendment) Bill 2021, which will soon be considered and passed at both chambers.
“Leadership or presiding officers of the National Assembly are not the ones to determine what and what provisions should be in the report to be presented, making the series of phone calls being made to us unnecessary,” Lawan said.