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Electoral Act amendment: Southern govs reject removal of electronic transmission of results

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THE Southern Governors Forum (SGF) has rejected the removal of electronic transmission of election results from the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 by the National Assembly.

Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who also doubles as chairman of the forum disclosed this in a communiqué issued at the end of the governors’ meeting in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State on Monday.

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.

As the Senate prepares to pass the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on Tuesday, the sudden emergence of a strange Section 50(2), which completely outlaws transmission of votes by electronic means, is generating tension among lawmakers and serious concerns among Nigerians.

The provision, which some members of the Kabiru Gaya-led committee described as strange, read, “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.”

It was learnt that some members of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which prepared the bill which is to be passed on Tuesday, are set to raise an objection to some of it’s provisions.

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INEC had adopted the electronic transmission of results in some previous elections to the admiration of many stakeholders, particularly in the September 2020 Edo State governorship polls.

The commission had also in the past expressed its determination to adopt electronic voting, including the transmission of results by electronic means.

INEC Chairman Mahmud Yakubu had urged the National Assembly to amend the constitution and the Electoral Act to make provision for electronic collation and transmission of election results.

He lamented that the manual collation arrangement provided in Electoral Act 2010 was too cumbersome and time consuming for the commission.

“We have to also address our electoral process, which is manual. It is too expensive and cumbersome. The process of collating results is sometimes chaotic because the law says that you must write results manually and collate them manually right from the polling unit to the ward, from the ward to the local government, then, the state and from the state to the national level, in the case of the presidential election.

“A lot has been achieved in other climes with the simple application of technology. So, the encumbrances to the deployment of technology in the transmission of election results should be removed as part of this process,” Yakubu had said.

Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

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