Election observer group, Yiaga Africa, has called on the National Assembly to adopt the House of Representatives’ version of the Electoral Amendment bill which allows for electronic transmission of results in elections.
The group made the call at a Stakeholders’ Reflection Roundtable on Electoral Reforms on Friday.
It also asked the parliament to set up the conference committee that will deliberate on the provisions of the bill.
The group which highlighted major provisions of the bill passed by both chambers of the National Assembly in July argued that the bill seeks to resolve issues concerning INEC’s introduction of modern technologies into the electoral process, particularly accreditation of voters, electronic voting, and electronic transmission of results from polling units.
A controversial provision in the bill is Section 52, which deals with electronic transmission of results of elections – a major recommendation from Nigerians including INEC.
In the bill which the Senate passed, the Section was changed from; “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable” to;
“The commission may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.”
However, the House of Representatives, retained the former section.
The lawmakers are expected to set up a joint committee to consider and combine the differences in which Yiaga Africa recommended that Section 52 of the House of Representatives’ version be adopted by the panel.
Also, the group’s Director of Programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, in a presentation, urged the committee to adopt the Senate’s version of Clause 43 that recognises “voting devices” alongside election materials.
“The committee at conference should adopt: the Senate version of Clause 49 that recognises “other technological devices” alongside Smart Card Readers for voter accreditation.
“The House version of Clause 52 that gives INEC the power to determining the procedure for voting and transmission of elections results. The Senate proposal is problematic and unconstitutional.
“The Senate version of Clauses 63 and 76 which increases the penalty for sanctioning a presiding officer who contravenes the Electoral Act with respect to counting of and accounting for votes, announcement of results.”