No fewer than 52 senators, on Thursday, voted that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, may consider the electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage as adjudged by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and approved by the National Assembly.
However, 28 senators voted for the clause that INEC may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable, as contained in the report under consideration, just as 28 senators were absent.
Following the confusion that erupted during plenary when there was disagreement earlier on the move to remove the recommendation of the Committee, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe(PDP, Abia South) who raised a point of Order and came under Order 73, called for a division for Nigerians to know who voted against electronic transmission of results by INEC.
THE Senate was thrown into confusion and uproar as the senators considered the report of the Electoral Bill, 2021 which is a Bill for an Act to repeal the Electoral Act No.6, 2010 and enact the Electoral Act 2021, to regulate the conduct of Federal, State and Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory elections.
The confusion and anger enveloped the Chamber as senators considered the report that has 158 clauses.
The confusion and anger came as the Senator Ahmad Lawan-led Senate has now conceded the powers of INEC to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, that will now transmit results of elections.
According to what they voted for, NCC and the National Assembly will take over the work of INEC by transmitting the results against the backdrop that INEC cannot carry out the electronic transmission of results unless the NCC and the National Assembly approved.
Trouble started when after the presentation of the report by the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya(APC, Kano South) read the report and the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Sabi Abdullahi(APC, Niger North) moved for an amendments of clause 52(3).
The original 52(3) as contained in the report under consideration read: “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”
But his amendment to the content as contained in the clause, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, said: “The Commission may consider electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage as adjudged by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, and approved by the National Assembly.”
This did not go down well with some senators as Senator Bassey Albert Akpan(PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East) moved for what is contained in the recommendation, but was voted out.