The Senate has rescinded its decision on some clauses in the Electoral Amendment Bill that was passed in July.
One of the clauses is 52 which deals with the methods of voting and collation of results in an election.
The Senate on Tuesday amended the clause to let the electoral umpire, INEC, determine the use of electronic voting and transfer of results.
The Senate also amended clause 87 of the bill to mandate political parties to hold only direct primaries for candidates seeking elective positions.
In July, the Senate empowered the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly to determine the use of electronic transmission of results in an election.
The Senate changed the clause 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.”
The House of Representatives had retained the former. And a conference committee was set up to harmonise the differences.
In a motion to recomit some clauses in the bill, to the Committee of the Whole, the Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya, who sponsored the bill, asked that the Senate “rescind its decision on the affected clause of the bill as passed and recommit same to the committee of the whole for consideration and passage.”
He said after a critical examination of the bill by the Senate Committee on INEC, some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action on Clauses 43, 52, 63 and 87 were observed.
He said there was the need to address the observations by the committee and make necessary amendments relying on Order 53(6) of the Senate Standing Order.
This Order allows the Senate to reconsider substantive motion for rescission.
The amended clauses now read:
Clause 43(1) – The commission shall provide suitable boxes, electronic voting machine or any other voting device for the conduct of elections.
43(2) The forms to be used for the conduct of elections to the offices mentioned in this bill shall be determined by the commission.
43(3) The polling agents shall be entitled to be present at the distribution of the election materials, electronic voting machine and voting devices from the office to the polling booth.
Clause 52(2) Subject to section 63 of this Bill, voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting.
Clause 63(5) The presiding officer shall transfer the results including total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner as prescribed by the commission.
87(1) A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.
In his contribution, Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi) supported the amendments and said it will deepen democracy and make electoral process transparent.
Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) said the amendment of clause 87 for direct primaries will allow for inclusivity and strengthen democracy. The time for Nigeria to adopt direct primaries is long overdue, he said.
The minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP Abia), hailed the amendment that allows INEC to determine the use of electronic transmission of result.
He,however, said political parties should be allowed to practise the kind of primary election they are capable of.
Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi) and Shuaibu Lau (PDP, Taraba) opposed the amendment for direct primaries.
The amended clauses will be sent back to the conference committee for harmonisation.
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