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Electoral Amendment: Echocho votes against electronic transmission of election results, says constituents prefer manual

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Senator Jibtin Isah Echocho
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Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho had during the parliamentary debate on electronic means of transmitting election results voted against the proposal in the amendment which was submitted by the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission.

His rejection of the electronic transmission of results during the debate on Thursday was hinged on the excuse that the Nigerian Communications Commission has sometime ago said the network coverage in Nigeria was only 46%.

The debate which generated confusion on the red Chambers was empowering the INEC to legally transmit results electronically which was captured in Section 52(3) in the amendment draft.

The provision according to the Chairman of the Committee and former governor of Kano State, Senator Kabir Gaya pointed out that the electronic transmission would solve the menace of election rigging.

The provision noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission may transmit election results electronically, but in the course of time, Senator Aliyu Sani Abdullahi from Niger had through the relevant Order made and an amendment.

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Sabi’s proposal coopted the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly to approve adequacy of network or otherwise before the INEC could transmit electronic results.

Sabi said: “Mr. Senate President, Distinguished colleagues, I want to make amendment to section 52(3) that INEC may transmit results electronically if the NCC and NASS so approve that there was adequate network in that part of Nigeria.”

Adding his contribution, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan from Akwa Ibom in his own amendment said: “That INEC may transmit results if there was network in the area.

In accordance with the rules of proceedings, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan put the two amendment to vote and there were sustained and that became the source of further confusion and pandemonium.

In the ensuing milee, Senate President forced the plenary into close door.

Not satisfied with the ruling, the Senate Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe rose through Order 73 of Senate rules to divide the Chambers which would have eventually called for physical votes for or against.

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In the course of voting, Isah Jibrin Echocho stressed thus: “Mr. Senate President, distinguished colleagues, in fairness to the good people of Kogi East who don’t have networks, I rise against electronic transmission of results”, he said

The lawmaker also maintained that the manual handling of election results was the wish of his constituents, but checks by CAPITAL POST which monitored the debate can authoritatively report that Echocho has never organised a townhall meeting to consult the constituents in Kogi East seeking for their opinion before Thursday’s debate.

Our correspondent in Kogi State who spoke with some stakeholders in APC and other constituents late Thursday in Kogi East confirmed that the lawmaker didn’t consult anyone on issues of Electoral Amendment Act.

At Idah, which is the headquarter of Kogi East Senatorial District, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, who identified himself as Faruk told CAPITAL POST that Senator Echocho has never consulted anyone.

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He wondered how would anyone be against electronic transmission of election results now that the world was advancing in every thing.

According to him: “We are members of APC who worked and delivered the party, but we did that for nothing. I can’t remember seeing my Senator since he left for Abuja.

“You see, Kogi State is worst for thuggery, rigging and ballot box snatching and though we are guilty, that does not mean it should continue because everything has time”, he maintained.

Also, Senators Smart Adelphi representing Kogi West and Yakubu Oseni of the Central Senatorial district all voted against electronic transmission of results.

However, our correspondent reports that Section 52(3) of the Electoral Act has been amended with approval of electronic transmission of results with the Nigeria Communications Commission and the National Assembly having to approve if network was adequate enough.

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