07 July 2021 by Julian Osamoto
The Civil Society Situation Room has expressed concern over the proposed provision of clause 50 and 88 in the Electoral Bill 2021, currently being amended at the National Assembly.
At a news conference in Abuja, the convener of the Situation Room, Ms Ene Obi, explained that
Clause 50 subsection 2, of the electoral Bill 2021 states that:
“Voting at an election under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, which may include electronic voting, provided that the Commission shall not transmit results of elections by electronic means.’’
According to the Organization, providing for electronic voting, but prohibiting electronic transmission of results was restrictive, anything short of electronic voting and electronic transmission of results will be unacceptable,’’ Obi said.
While noting that accredited observers had, over the years, identified the collation process as the weak link in Nigeria’s elections, said the process often shrouded with human interference and other unforeseen occurrences, sometimes results in lack of transparency and accountability, capable of undermining the credibility of the entire electoral process.
“This is a challenge that can be tackled by electronic transmission of results, if implemented properly, It was expected that in addition to providing requisite legal backing to the use of Smart Card Reader, which was introduced in 2015, the re-enactment of the Electoral Act would provide the legal framework for INEC to deepen the use of technology in elections”.
“The Commission, on its part, has been working hard to introduce new technologies into elections and has welcomed demonstrations of relevant technological devices from developers to that end,’’ she said.
She maintained that passing the Electoral Bill 2021 into law without addressing the salient issue of the use of technology would largely undermine gains recorded so far in the Nation’s electoral process.
The Group called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to accept the passage of the bill without addressing the Clause 50(2) in the version of the draft bill agreed to by the joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC and Electoral Matters.