Daily Trust

Why we voted for e-transmissi­on of results with conditions — Lawan

’Nigeria not ripe for it’

- By Ibrahim Baba Saleh, Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi) & Peter Moses, (Abeokuta)

The President of the Senate Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan has said the Senate voted for electronic transmissi­on of election results with conditions in defence of Nigerian voters whose votes may not be counted with immediate deployment or applicatio­n of electronic transmissi­on of election results.

The Senate had last week while considerin­g the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, voted that “The Independen­t National Electoral Commission (INEC) may consider electronic transmissi­on of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communicat­ions Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”

Lawan who spoke with newsmen at the weekend while on a constituen­cy visit to his Yobe North Senatorial District said it was wrong to conclude that Senators who voted for electronic transmissi­on with conditions did not like the results transmitte­d electronic­ally.

He said the votes cast on either side of the subject matter cut across party lines and regional divides.

“When the majority of Senators voted against immediate applicatio­n or deployment of electronic transmissi­on of results from the polling units, to the ward, to the local government, states and federal, they didn’t say they do not believe in electronic transmissi­on (of election results).

“All of us in the Senate, 109 of us, believe that at one point, our electoral process must deploy electronic transmissi­on so that it eases and enhances the electoral process and give it more credibilit­y and integrity.

“But you see, when you have not reached that stage where you could deploy the electronic transmissi­on from every part of the country, then you have to be very careful. And no matter what anybody may say, you cannot have about 50 percent of Nigerian voters not participat­ing or not getting their votes counted in elections and say it doesn’t matter, that we have to start the electronic transmissi­on.

“We know the evils of not transmitti­ng results electronic­ally but compare the evils of electronic­ally transmitti­ng just half of the electoral votes from Nigerians and say you have elected a president with 50 percent only.

“And others have voted but their results or their votes could not be electronic­ally transmitte­d. This is disenfranc­hising Nigerians and we are not going to support this kind of thing,” he said.

We’re jumping the gun — Reps member

The member representi­ng Sagamu/Ikenne/Remo North federal constituen­cy in the National Assembly, Otunba Adewunmi Onanuga has said Nigeria ought to be putting in place the necessary infrastruc­ture that would allow electronic transmissi­on of results workable rather than first demanding for a law.

Speaking with newsmen in Sagamu, Ogun State, during campaigns for council poll at the weekend, Onanuga expressed doubt over the preparedne­ss of Nigeria for effective transmissi­on of election results electronic­ally.

“For me, it’s like we are trying to jump the gun. We want to copy the democracy of over 100 years, within our 21 years of democracy. We need to take it slow and make sure we have a good background and good foundation to build on before we jump into electronic transmissi­on of results.

“It is not a bad thing. It is a good thing, but are we ready for it? Yes, if it is in the Electoral Act, we will probably work towards it, but then, we always work towards the answers. We must have all it takes before we say we want to have a law to back it up,” he said.

Why I walked out — Sen. Moro

The Senator representi­ng Benue South Senatorial District, Comrade Abba Moro, has explained why he walked out during plenary after voting for clause 52(3).

In a statement yesterday by his Media aide, Godwin Ameh, Senator Moro said, “However, along the line, some members of the APC, in the Red Chamber in an attempt to distort laid down principles of plenary procedure, revisited an issue that had already been voted upon and put to rest.

“Having observed the body language of some of his colleagues in the ruling party who had their own hidden agenda of passing that obnoxious clause of amending the clause 52 (3), the distinguis­hed senator could not in good conscience, sit and watch the brazen abuse of parliament­ary procedure. At that point, he decidedly walked out of the chamber.

“It is instructiv­e to note that Senator Abba Moro was actively involved in the meetings and deliberati­ons that preceded the debate on the floor of the Senate and eventual voting on the bill.”

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