To Build A Nation (TBAN), a civil society group, says National Assembly’s blockage of electronic transmission of election results will be regarded as a coup against Nigerians.
Former Central Bank Governor (CBN), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu is the convener of the non-partisan political action group.
In a statement on Monday, Moghalu cited media reports that the much-anticipated Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 does not provide for e-transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He quoted Section 50 (2) of the bill: “Voting at an election under this bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission, which may include electronic voting, provided that the commission shall not transmit results of elections by electronic means.”
The former presidential candidate said the provision, or any other with the same intent, is troubling for many reasons.
“One, electronic transmission of election results is a popular demand by Nigerians who are keen to see significant improvements in the country’s electoral processes and outcomes.
“To pass a law to deny the wish of the people is tantamount to a legislative coup by the National Assembly. This must be avoided.
“Two, the National Assembly will further erode its credibility if it decides against a reasonable and popular legislative demand. This will further delegitimise the country’s democracy.
“Three, by specifically disallowing INEC from using electronic means to transmit election results, the National Assembly would be passing a law that hamstrings an institution of the state from carrying out its function to the best possible outcome.
“Four, without electronic transmission of results, a new electoral law would, at best, only introduce cosmetic changes, while essentially helping to perpetuate rigging of elections.”
Moghalu recalled that in an earlier statement, TBAN outlined the benefits of electronic transmission of results.
These include curbing election rigging and violence, including arsonist attacks on INEC facilities and polling materials.
The organisation insisted the transmission method is also an important framework for enabling diaspora voting.
TBAN disclosed that its findings confirm the availability of practical and inexpensive technological solutions for e-transmission of results from any polling unit Nigeria.
The statement said the excuse of impracticality being mentioned in some quarters means the denial of reality.
TBAN told the National Assembly to pass the new electoral bill allowing electronic transmission of results, adding that INEC needs time to operationalise the provisions of a new Electoral Act ahead of the 2023 general election.