The Senate said the ambiguity contained in Section 64 of the Electoral Act should be removed to enable electronic transmission of election results.
The Senate has proposed an amendment to the Electoral Act to make mandatory, the electronic transmission of results and uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at different levels of result collation from the next general elections in 2027.
It also proposed diaspora voting as well as unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve efficiency in its electoral duties.
These proposals form part of a communiqué issued at the end of the Senate annual retreat organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), in Ikot Ikpene, Akwa-Ibom State.
The lawmakers, who noted that the introduction of diaspora voting will allow Nigerians resident abroad to participate in elections by voting for the presidential candidate of their choosing, also called for sanctions against any political party that fails to turn in a list of party members at least 30 days prior to an election, a primary, or a congress.
“INEC should be unbundled to improve its efficiency and effectiveness in the preparation and conduct of elections.
“Relating to the use of technology in elections, remove the ambiguity evident in Section 64 of the EA22. Also, make electronic transmission of results mandatory from the next general elections in 2027, including the uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at different levels of result collation.
“Introduce diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections, to enable citizens to vote, especially those on essential service abroad, such as military, paramilitary, and other security personnel abroad, Embassy staff, and other citizens.
“Relating to political parties; stipulate sanctions for failure to submit the register of party members not later than 30 days before the date of party primaries, congresses, or conventions in relation to Section 77(3) EA22, which the political parties have observed in the breach in the 2023 elections without penalty,” the communique read.
On the challenges of security in the country, the Godswill Akpabio-led Senate also called for a “comprehensive national security strategy” that would address the challenges, adding that it is necessary for the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to be part of the security briefings that the President gets.
“Develop and enact a comprehensive national security strategy that outlines the nation’s security objectives, threats, and policy priorities. Such a strategy can serve as a guiding framework for legislative action in the security sector.
Address the root causes of terrorism/banditry, which is often driven by poverty, inequality, and a lack of opportunity.
Promote community policing and engagement to identify and prevent terrorist attacks. The government should also work with civil society organisations and local/traditional communities to identify and address security concerns.
Establish independent oversight mechanisms for the security sector. These mechanisms can help to investigate allegations of abuse and corruption and to ensure that security forces are accountable to the law.
Legislative engagement and oversight in Nigeria’s security sector can be significantly bolstered through comprehensive legislative reforms. These reforms are essential for ensuring that the legislative branch is equipped with the necessary tools and mechanisms to fulfill its critical role in security sector reform.
The periodic engagement of the National Assembly with the security chiefs for adequate briefing. There is a need for the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives to be part of the weekly security briefing that goes to the President. The Senate should develop its Legislative Agenda that incorporates the outcome of this retreat,” the communique further read.