Electoral Act Amendment Bill: Exclusion of E-Transmission Of Results Must Be Resisted

by Jude Obuseh

 The exclusion of electronic transmission of election results from the final version of the Electoral Act amendment Bill expected to be passed into law by the National Assembly this month has unsurprisingly stirred the hornet’s as Nigerians have poured venom on the proposal which they see as an attempt to deny them their overwhelming desire for credible, free, fair, peaceful, acceptable and transparent elections in the country.

Yours sincerely, in solidarity with Nigerian voters, views the proposal by the National Assembly as a gross insult to the collective sensibilities of Nigerian voters, and proof that the members of the legislative arm of government represent no one but themselves. Not only is the proposal unacceptable, it is repugnant and at variance with the new democratic culture Nigerians are trying to cultivate.

As the most critical stakeholders in the democratic process, it is the wish of most Nigerians, as expressed via several channels, that the Electoral Act and Constitution amendments include a provision for an electronic voting system and transmission of results.

This attempt by federal legislators to truncate and scupper the collective will of Nigerians for credible polls in the country is not only preposterous, but unjust.

The National Assembly is hereby charged to rise up in defence of our nascent democracy by expunging the obnoxious Section 50 (2) of the proposed electoral bill which states that, “Voting at election under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedures determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting provided that the Commission shall not transmit results of the elections by electronic mean.”

The aforementioned provision is an indictment of the entire electoral amendment process and dims the collective desire of Nigerians for a comprehensive tweaking of the electoral process. Such a mischievous provision will obfuscate the gains made by INEC in the recent, hugely successful, governorship polls in Edo and Ondo States. It certainly is not in the interest of Nigerians.

This antidemocratic clause should be expeditiously deleted to protect our young democracy and safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.

Nigerians, who are not comfortable with some clauses in the proposed amendment, should take their complaints to their representatives in the House of Representatives as well as distinguished Senators for consideration before the passage of the bill.

Electronic voting and transmission of results will guarantee the sanctity of polls in the country as it will help check incidences of rigging and brazen doctoring of ballots at collation centres.

Election affords the people the opportunity to express their franchise. It is one of the basic foundations of a viable democratic system. Respecting the rights of the popular sovereigns, the electorate, via free and fair polls, is therefore sacrosanct for the nurturing and sustenance of a democratic culture and the survival of any polity.

Refraining from including the provision for the electronic transfer of results in the Amended Electoral Act will, without doubt, be counterproductive and akin to giving a blank cheque to electoral manipulators to continue plying their demonic trade. This will definitely throw the country’s electoral system back to the dark ages of electoral fraud with its associated chaos.

Those in authority should please do the needful, for peace to reign.

God save Nigeria!

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