Electoral Act Bill: PDP heads to court, insists on electronic transmission of results

…Says APC has murdered democracy
…”We have capacity for electronic transmission in remote areas” – INEC

The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), has vowed not allow the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) led National Assembly to “murder democracy” in Nigeria, vowing to head to court to challenge the decision of the senate to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from transmitting election results directly from polling units.

Lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly had been at loggerheads over electronic transmission of results earlier in the week.

The House was thrown into disarray on Thursday as members debated section 52(2) of the Electoral Act amendment Bill, which deals with electronic transmission.

Also on Thursday, APC Senators forced through a version of the Bill at the Senate that constrained INEC to seek permission from the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) and the National Assembly before employing electronic voting in any part of the country.

According to the lawmakers opposed to sacrosanct electronic transmission of results, some parts of the country do not have the required network coverage.

An Executive Commissioner at the NCC had told lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday that only 50% of the country has the 3G coverage required for transmission.

Reacting to the decision of the senators at press conference on Friday, national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said the amendment passed by the lawmakers cannot stand, as according to him, it is a big scam.

Secondus said the party will take all necessary legal steps to ensure that the “APC scam” is not allowed to stand in any way.

“By the choice of the All Progressives Congress, (APC), to put party interest before National interest, they have vividly murdered democracy by the actions of their members in the two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday and today. For us in PDP, today is a Black Friday for democracy.

The INEC, also yesterday, suggested it has the capacity to transmit election results electronically from remote areas across the country.

Speaking on a television programme yesterday, INEC’s National Chairman and Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, said the Commission’s position was clear. “We have uploaded results from very remote areas, even from areas where you have to use human carriers to access”, he said.

He further said, “We have the capacity and we have the will to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process.

“But our powers are given by the Constitution and the law, and we will continue to remain within the ambit and confines of the power granted to the commission by the constitution and the law.”

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