The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday rescinded its decisions on some clauses in the Electoral Amendment Bill that was passed in July 2021.
In July, the Senate voted 52 in favour of a controversial amendment suggested by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North) to clause 52. The amendment had stipulated that 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.
28 Senators had voted to keep the original clause giving INEC the sole power to decide how and when to use electronic transmission, while 28 Senators were absent from the vote.
On Tuesday, Senate Leader, Abdullahi Yahaya sponsored a bill asking the Senate to 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.
Senator Abdullahi Yahaya (APC – Kebbi North) in July voted to mandate INEC to get clearance from NCC before electronic transmission of election results.
Speaking of the motion earlier today, Senator Yahaya said that 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 as reported by Premium Times 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.
While Senators welcomed the amendments, some of them were still opposed to the amendment for direct primaries.
What is Direct Primaries?
A direct primary is a primary in which voters choose candidates via direct vote.
This is contrasted with an indirect primary, in which voters choose delegates who then choose a party’s candidates at a later convention.
Political Parties has been using indirect primaries since the advent of this current republic in 1999, and this is ridden with high corruption.
The result of which has been a scenario whereby candidates with questionable characters continue to emerge as party flag bearers across most elections.
The electorates get asked over and over again to chose between the frying pan and the fire.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur