The House of Representatives on Friday passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, moments after opposition lawmakers walked out of the heated session at the National Assembly chambers in Abuja.
The bill with 158 clauses was passed after a clause-by-clause consideration, including Clause 52 (2), which had led to controversy and debate. The clause provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shall determine the mode of voting/transmission of election results.
The retained Clause 52 (2) reads: “Voting at election and transmission of results in this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.”
Attempts by some lawmakers to amend the clause led to heated debate and rowdiness during plenary on Thursday, prompting them to sit on Friday, which is unusual.
It was not different on Friday as the debate over the clause resulted in opposition lawmakers majorly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) walking out of the session as they insisted that the clause was never carried.
They had threatened to disrupt the proceedings when the House resumes from break, having failed to reach a consensus on Thursday over the much-debated clause. The Deputy Speaker, Idris Wale had ruled against the electronic transmission of election results in spite of a resounding vote in favour of the move.
The situation led to a rowdy session and the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the NCC would be present on Friday to give further clarifications on the Electoral Act with a major focus on section 52(2). After honouring the invitation of the House of Reps, the NCCC explained that it cannot guarantee a 100% percent safety of results for the electronic transmission of results, explaining that no system is completely free from hackers.
NCC’s Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Adeleke Adewolu admitted that no system can guarantee a 100 percent shield from hacking, adding that elections results can only be transmitted by a 3G network, and 50 percent of the country has 3G coverage.
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