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Saraki, groups push for electronic collation of election results in 2023

By Muyiwa Adeyemi, Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos) and Matthew Ogune (Abuja)
28 September 2021   |   3:26 am
The National Consultative Front (NCFront) has challenged Nigerians to compel the Federal Government to adopt electronic transmission of election results in 2023.

[FILES] Saraki

The National Consultative Front (NCFront) has challenged Nigerians to compel the Federal Government to adopt electronic transmission of election results in 2023.

The group said after wide consultation, it found that one major factor for electoral malpractices was the manual transfer of election results, which it described as archaic, problematic and prone to abuses and infractions.

The NCFront, therefore, hinted of an emergency meeting of non-partisan and political stakeholders titled National Summit on Electoral Reforms on October 1 to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary in Abuja.

In a statement, the body’s Head, Media and Public Affairs Bureau, Dr. Tanko Yinusa, added that the event would also witness the launch of a formidable national electoral alliance and coalition of like-minded political stakeholders, leaders of thought, civil society and labour leaders across the federation to mobilise Nigerians and pressurise the government to adopt electronic collation of results at the 2023 elections.

According to him, the event will be co-chaired by former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, while Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) is to give opening remarks at the occasion themed: “Restoring the Credibility of Nigerian Democracy and Legitimacy of the Nigerian State: The Imperative For the adoption of Electronic Transmission of Election Results in Nigeria.”

He continued: “Universally, the election is a major plank of democracy and if any electoral process is susceptible to rigging and malpractices, then such democracy loses its credibility and sanctity. It is for this reason that we, as leaders of conscience, are quite worried that elections in Nigeria have been riddled with malpractices and rigging since the inception of the present civilian rule in Nigeria, thereby making the majority of Nigerian citizens lose faith in the Nigerian democracy, as well as the Nigerian state, leading to apathy and sabotage.”

SIMILARLY, erstwhile Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has advised members of the Joint Conference Committee of the National Assembly to hasten patriotic consideration of the different versions of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill passed by both chambers in the interest of the nation.

He also urged the lawmakers to “give genuine and deep consideration to the delicate issue of adopting the provision on electronic transmission of results, which will help to strengthen our electoral process, deepen our democracy and improve the level of participation in elections.”

Saraki, in a statement by his spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that the harmonisation and eventual passage of the bill should be swiftly concluded for presidential assent ahead of electioneering for the 2023 polls.
ALSO yesterday, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room warned that the Senate’s version of the bill might hinder INEC’s preparations for the 2023 elections if passed in its raw form.

The Convener, Eni Obi, who gave the warning in Abuja at a press briefing, insisted that the provision that mandated the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly to order electronic transmission election results presents a constitutional breach that might lead to protracted litigation and constitute a clog in the electoral umpire’s work.

She said civil society partners and key stakeholders had identified roughly 17 points of divergence in the bill.