Senate approves conference committee report on amendment of electoral bill, okeys electronic transmission of results

The Nigerian Senate has approved and passed the conference committee report on the electoral act amendment bill and approved the electronic transmission of results.

The approval was given on Tuesday after a motion moved by the Senate leader, Yahaya Abdullahi when the lawmakers resumed plenary after a three-week recess.

Recall that the Senate and House of Representatives passed different versions of the bill which led to the setting up of a conference committee.

A seven-man conference committee had been constituted by the Upper chamber to meet with members of the House of Representatives Conference Committee and harmonise the differences in the Senate and House versions of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

A successful harmonisation would mean the National Assembly has completed the process of amending the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

The House of Representatives is also expected to pass the harmonised bill.

Once the house of representatives approves the report, a clean copy will be produced and sent to the president for assent by the clerk of the national assembly.

On October 12, the Senate had bowed to pressure and given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results.

This followed the reversal of its earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “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”.

The amendments that were made to the Act are highlighted below:

Clause 43: Ballot boxes and voting devices
Subsection 1:

Old: The Commission shall provide suitable boxes or any other voting device for the conduct of elections.

New: The Commission shall provide suitable boxes, electronic voting machine,s or any other voting device for the conduct of elections.

Subsection 3:

Old: The Polling Agents shall be entitled to be present at the distribution of the election materials and voting devices from the office to the polling booth.

New: 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: Conduct of poll by open secret ballot
Subsection 2:

Old: Voting at an election under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting.

New: 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.

Subsection 3 was deleted while Subsection 4 was renumbered as Subsection 3.

Clause 63: Counting of votes and forms
Subsection 5:

Old: The Presiding officer shall transmit the results including total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner as prescribed by the Commission.

New: 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.

Clause 87: Nomination of candidates by parties.
Subsection 1:

Old: A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Act shall hold direct or indirect primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which may be monitored by the Commission.

New: “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”.

Subsections 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were deleted, new Subsections 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 were inserted, while Subsections 8 and 9 were renumbered. The newly inserted subsections are:

Subsection 3: The procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions by direct primaries shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party and given opportunity to have agents for the purpose of monitoring the primaries.

Subsection 4: The procedure adopted for the direct primaries shall be spelt out in a guideline to be issued by the political party and filed with the Commission at least 14 days before the primary election.

Subsection 5: A political party shall maintain register of its members and provide in the guideline for the conduct of the primaries that the register of its members shall be used for accreditation for the primaries.

Subsection 6: The Commission shall deploy personnel to monitor the primaries in all the centres where the direct primaries are held.

Subsection 7: Every aspirant cleared by the party to contest at the primary not later than fourteen days to the primary shall be entitled to a copy of the guideline for the conduct of the primaries in which he or she is participating.

 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: