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Why I was absent during voting on e-transmission of election results – Ekwunife

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SENATOR representing Anambra Central in the National Assembly Uche Ekwunife has explained why she was absent during voting on the electronic transmission of electoral results.

Ekwunife, who was reacting to a query letter by some of her constituents demanding she explained why she was conspicuously absent during the plenary, said that she was scheduled to commission projects and attend some programmes in her constituency.

Ekwunife said contrary to concerns raised by her constituents in their letter, she was fully in support of the electronic transmission of results.

She said instant electronic transmission of election results would address many of the challenges in the country’s electoral process and end the alteration of results and electoral fraud during collation, which was usually occasioned by human error or a deliberate attempt to upturn the wishes of the people.

“My stand has always been that electronic transmission of results should be mandatory in all polling units and collation centres across Nigeria without exceptions,” part of her response stated.

“Even though some argued that INEC should be allowed to choose or exempt areas where there is poor network coverage, I vehemently argued against such positions, which in my opinion, would favour some regions against others, knowing fully well that the South East is one of the regions in Nigeria that have good network coverage.”

She said she had argued that if automated teller machines (ATMs), point of sale (POS) terminals, internet banking, and other electronic transactions were obtainable nationwide, she did not see why the electronic transfer of election results could not be equally achieved nationwide.

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She referred to “ the situation where card readers were used in the South East in the last general elections, while manual voting was allowed in some other parts of the country, which significantly affected the voting strength of the region in the previous elections.

“While I consider the recent complaints by some of my constituents as germane, it is important to state that my absence at the time of voting was never deliberate.”

The senator apologised to her constituents who felt disappointed that she wasn’t there to cast her vote, noting that she was not someone who would shy away from her constitutional responsibilities.

Members of the Obosi Development Union (ODU), Abuja branch, had addressed a letter to the senator demanding an explanation for her absence during a plenary session last Thursday.

The letter, which was signed by the group’s President Goddy Ikebuaku and Secretary Chimezie Obi respectively, demanded to know why she was not present at the Red Chambers when others cast their votes on the issue of electronic transmission of results.

The group pointed out that Ekwunife was elected to represent a people who expected that her presence at the National Assembly would favour their cause, especially during important discussions such as the e-transmission of results.

They warned that failure to offer a satisfactory explanation was proof that she was one of such politicians profitting from manipulation of election results.

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

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