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Electoral Act Amendment Bill: IPAC rejects exclusion of electronic transmission of results

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By Chidinma Chukwu

The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has rejected the exclusion of electronic transmission of results in the final version of the Electoral Act amendment bill by the National Assembly expected to be passed into law this month.

In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, IPAC Ambassador Agbo Major on Monday, IPAC said the exclusion of electronic transmission of results is unacceptable and repugnant to free and fair poll. He described the exclusion as a coup against the Nigerian people who desire and deserve credible elections.

The Council explained that electronic voting and transmission of results guarantees sanctity of the ballot box and prevents rigging and manipulation of electoral outcomes from mischievously doctored and falsified results at collation centres.

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IPAC further accused the National Assembly of turning recent stakeholders meetings and public hearings on the matter to mere jamborees.

They however urged the National Assembly to rise to the occasion and defend the nation’s frail democracy and expunge the obnoxious Section 50(2) of the proposed electoral bill which states, “Voting at election under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedures determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting PROVIDED that the Commission shall not transmit results of the elections by electronic means.”

The statement read in part, “IPAC as the umbrella body of the 18 registered political parties by INEC and a critical stakeholder submitted its memoranda on Electoral Act and Constitution amendments, and demanded for electronic voting system and transmission of results
in the quest for free, fair, credible, transparent, generally accepted, inclusive and peaceful elections in Nigeria.

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“This was the consensus of all stakeholders at various meetings and public hearings. It is unfair and unjust for the leadership of the National Assembly to thwart and sabotage the will, desire and expectation of Nigerians for credible elections that meet international standards.

“More importantly, political parties are deregistered for failure to win a legislative seat among others. It will be an uphill task for political parties not in government to win elections if the process is grossly flawed.

“Election is the beauty of democracy as sovereignty resides in the people. The mandate of the electorate in a free and fair election must be respected. To do otherwise, is an invitation to anarchy that characterized most elections in Nigeria since independence in 1960.

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“This provision makes mockery of the entire electoral amendment and dashed the hopes of patriotic Nigerians of having key reforms in the electoral process.

” With the insertion of the anti- people clause into the Bill, legislators have shown clearly that they do not mean well for Nigerians and undercut the gain made by INEC during the last Edo and Ondo Gubernatorial Polls which they also plan to do during the upcoming Anambra Polls coming up November 6, 2021. IPAC demand immediate expunging of the clause to save Nigeria democracy and credibility of the nation’s elections”

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