Electronic results transmission: Southern senators turn against govs, National Assembly members clash
Decision of the APC-led Senate shocking, it undermines our electoral process – PDP
Facts on Thursday emerged about how the All Progressives Congress rallied its senators to reject moves to adopt electronic transmission of election results in 2023.
The PUNCH gathered that since last month, the APC had been reaching out to its lawmakers through zonal caucuses and insisting that their position on the controversial issue would test their loyalty to the party.
On Thursday, those who rejected the move to adopt electronic transfer of results in 2023 included Southern APC senators, whose governors, at a meeting in Lagos on July 5, warned against its removal in the amended Electoral Act.
Recall that the Southern Governors’ Forum, at its meeting in Lagos on July 5, called for the retention of the electronic transfer of results in the the Electoral Act.
The SGF, in a communiqué read by its Chairman and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had stated, “The Southern Governors’ Forum rejects the removal of the Electronic transmission of the election results from the Electoral Act.”
On Thursday, the red chamber amended over 150 clauses in the 2010 Electoral Act but failed to make transmission of results compulsory in future elections.
The red chamber ruled out the possibility of having results transmitted electronically when it voted that the Nigerian Communications Commission, with National Assembly approval, would determine whether the Independent National Electoral Commission could transmit results electronically or not.
Those who voted against electronic transfer of results hinged their decision on the fact that the NCC had said only 43 per cent of Nigeria had internet network.
It was gathered that before Thursday, the APC had held a series of meetings with the APC leadership in the Senate and the House of Representatives to seek support for the rejection of the portion of the Electoral Act supporting the electronic transfer of results.
It was learnt that party leaders were uncomfortable with the potential damage the clause could cause if allowed to pass without modification.
A high-ranking member of the APC, who spoke to one of our correspondents, on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said, “This is politics and as the governing party, you don’t allow the opposition to dictate the pace.
“Those in opposition certainly know something we don’t know. The way they (PDP) were pushing for this electronic transfer of results or electronic voting thing using NGOs, international agencies and all that, should tell you something.
“Yes, we appreciate technology but the reality on ground is that we still have the challenge of infrastructure. There are several villages where these electronic devices don’t work. We are simply not ready for the kind of changes the opposition is trying to force us to accept.”