OrderPaperToday – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has asked the National Assembly to harmonise the different versions of the Electoral Act Amendment Bills passed by both Chambers in favour of electronic transmission of election results.
The forum insisted that further delay in passing and assenting to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will do grievous and irreparable damage to preparations for the conduct of the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
Accordingly, the PDP Governors requested the Senate and House of Representatives Conference Committee, when set up, to adopt the House version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the issue of electronic transmission of election results.
Recall that Section 52(2) of the House version says: “Voting at an election and transmission of result under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”
But Section 52 (2) of the Senate version provides: “The Commission may consider electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”
“The Senate version which subjects the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy electronic transmission to the decision of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Assembly is manifestly a usurpation of the powers of INEC and offends relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees INEC’s autonomy and independence” the PDP Governors forum said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
The forum insisted that INEC has demonstrated the capacity to transmit votes electronically, both in recent off season elections and with the introduction and deployment of the Biomodel Voters Accreditation System (BVAs), used in the recent bye-election in Delta State.
Recall that OrderPaper Nigeria had conducted a public opinion poll which revealed what Nigerians thought of their lawmakers in relation to how they voted during voting for the use of electronic transmission of results
The PDP Governors also requested the National Assembly Conference Committee to jettison the House of Representatives decision that forces all political parties to adopt only one method of conducting primaries.
The House of Representatives recently amended S.87 (1) of the Act, by deleting indirect primaries and mandating only direct primaries for political parties.
“The Forum is of the view that political parties should be allowed discretion to adopt either direct or indirect primaries in their Constitutions and in practice. The Senate version that retains the original provision in the Electoral Act should be adopted in the interest of the growth of our political parties and freedom of choice, the hallmark of a functional democracy” the press statement continued.
Furthermore the PDP Governors said only a credible election will guarantee accountability and good governance which Nigeria so desperately needs today.
“Nigerians should rise and demand no less from her politicians. It is only credible elections that puts the power in the hands of the people. This is not a partisan issue. It is not a regional or religious matter . The National Assembly should act in a patriotic manner as representatives of the people of Nigeria” the press statement signed by the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, concluded.