Senate President explains approval of e-transmission of results with conditions

 …Says APC, PDP senators supported it

By Peter Usman://

Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan has explained that the upper legislative chamber approved the electronic transmission of election results with conditions in defence of about half of the Nigerian electorate whose votes may not be counted with immediate deployment or application of the technology.

The Senate had last Thursday, while considering the Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill, voted that “The Commission (INEC) may consider electronic transmission of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communications Commission, NCC and approved by the National Assembly.”

But Lawan, speaking to journalists at the weekend while on a constituency visit to his Yobe North Senatorial District, expressed happiness about the feat achieved by both chambers of the National Assembly despite complaints by some Nigerians.

The Senate President, according to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, however, faulted some media reports insinuating that only the All Progressives Congress, APC senators voted against immediate application of the electronic transmission of results.

“When the majority of Senators voted against immediate application or deployment of electronic transmission of results from the polling units, to the ward, to the local government, states and federal, they didn’t say they do not believe in electronic transmission (of election results).

“All of us in the Senate, 109 of us, believe that at one point, our electoral process must deploy electronic transmission so that it eases and enhances the electoral process and give it more credibility and integrity.

“But you see, when you have not reached that stage where you could deploy the electronic transmission from every part of the country, then you have to be very careful. And no matter what anybody may say, you cannot have about 50 percent of Nigerian voters not participating or not getting their votes counted in elections and say it doesn’t matter, that we have to start the electronic transmission.

“We know the evils of not transmitting results electronically but compare the evils of electronically transmitting just half of the electoral votes from Nigerians and say you have elected a President with 50 percent only.

“And others have voted but their results or their votes could not be electronically transmitted. This is disenfranchising Nigerians and we are not going to support this kind of thing because essentially, we are supposed to be fair to every part of Nigeria and when we voted, every part of Nigeria voted for and against (the amendment).

On the voting pattern during the clause by clause consideration of the bill, the Senate President said the votes cast on either sides of the subject matter cut across party lines and regional divides.

“In this respect, it was not just APC. I have seen it reported in the media that only APC Senators voted against the immediate deployment of electronic transmission.

“There are PDP Senators who voted against that but it appears that some people want to target at APC Senators. There were PDP Senators who voted against immediate deployment. I’m using the word ‘immediate’ with an emphasis,” Lawan stressed.

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