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Senate passes electoral amendment bill

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The Senate on Thursday passed the electoral act amendment bill 2021 amidst a rancorous atmosphere after a disagreement over clause 52(3) almost torn the red chamber apart.

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Some senators of the ruling All Progressives Congresses (APC) kicked against the electronic transmission of results during the plenary session.

The Senators considered the bill which had 158 clauses, clause after clause until all clauses were dispensed members of the APC in the Senate on Thursday voted against electronic transmission of results.

Senator Sabi Abdullahi had sought for amendment to the clause saying, “The commission may consider electronics collation of results provided the National Network Coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secured by the National Communication Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

This was against the amendment sought by Senator Bassey Akpan which was also the same as a recommendation by the INEC Committee that presented the report which indicated that the Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable at its discretion.

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During voice vote the nays had it as the minority leader challenged the ruling by the President of the Senate calling for order 73 which means division.

The Committee had, in the report, recommended in Section 52(3) that, INEC “may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”

Members of the Committee on Communications had earlier informed the chamber that the NCC had declared that only 43 percent of the country was currently under effective telecommunications coverage.

Senate President, Ibrahim Lawan, ruled in favour of the amendment when he conducted a voice vote.

There was a disagreement and the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, called for a division that would require individual voting on the floor.

Lawan sustained Abaribe’s point of order and called for a division.


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