OrderPaperToday- The governor of Sokoto State and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has said the Senate’s decision to empower the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to determine the electronic transmission of election results is unconstitutional.
Tambuwal, in a statement, said the electronic transmission of the result must be left with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The decision of the Senate to subject INECs constitutional power to conduct elections to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and National Assembly is patently unconstitutional,” the statement read, reiterating further that:
“For the avoidance of doubt, S.78 of the Constitution provides that “the registration of voters and the CONDUCT of elections shall be SUBJECT to the DIRECTION and SUPERVISION of Independent National Electoral Commission.
“In the Third Schedule, Part 1, F, S.15: INEC has the power to ORGANISE, UNDERTAKE and SUPERVISE all elections. The Constitution further provides that INEC OPERATIONS SHALL NOT be subject to the direction OF ANYBODY or AUTHORITY.”
Tambuwal also pointed that “the mode of election and transmission are critical parts of the CONDUCT, SUPERVISION, UNDERTAKING and ORGANISATION of elections in Nigeria. Of course, the National Assembly has the power to flesh out the legal framework, but that has to be consistent with the Constitution.
“These constitutional powers have been solely and EXCLUSIVELY PRESCRIBED BY THE CONSTITUTION to INEC, and CANNOT BE SHARED WITH the NCC, or any other Authority, and certainly not a body unknown to the Constitution. The Senate decision to subject INEC’s constitutional power to conduct elections to NCC is consequently patently VOID, unconstitutional and unlawful.”
He stressed that the transmission of votes be left with INEC, who would monitor developments and determine the type of technology to be deployed to ensure free, fair and credible elections at every election, adding that the electoral body also has constitutional power backed by the Electoral Act to make rules and guidelines to ensure that every vote is counted and that every vote counts.
“Additionally, whereby INEC determines that electronic transmission is not possible in any part of the country, it would by regulations determine the appropriate thing to do,” the statement also said.
The former speaker said he believes that the best option was to leave the matter in the hands of INEC but however admonished it to be solely guided by the national interest and the desire of all Nigerians for credible, free and fair elections in using its constitutional powers to deploy error-free technology.
Tambuwal said if INEC determines that electronic transmission is not possible in any part of the country, it would, by regulations; determine the appropriate thing to do.
He, however, commended the House of Representatives on its “wise” decision to call on INEC to address the country on its readiness to deploy electronic transmission technology for elections in 2023.