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Nigerian Senators clash over electronic transmission of results

The Nigerian Senate is currently considering the Electoral Amendment bill for passage.

The process was, however, disrupted by disagreement among the lawmakers over Section 52(3) of the bill.

This section deals with the electronic transmission of results during elections.

It states ” The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”

The lawmakers were already having the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill when they arrived at this Section and the Senate Deputy Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, moved to amend the section.

“The commission may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly,” he proposed.

This stirred murmuring in the chamber but the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, moved that they vote on the amendment.

When put to vote, the resounding “nays” were louder than the “ayes” but Mr Lawan ruled in favour of the amendment.

Akwa Ibom senator, Bassey Akpan, moved that the clause to be re-amended to the initial section as contained in the bill.

Another vote was done and Mr Lawan again ruled in favour of Mr Abdullahi’s amendment.

Loud arguments and chaos followed as unsatisfied lawmakers were seen leaving their seats and shouting – making it unable for either the chief whip or Mr Lawan to control the lawmakers.

The shouting continued for over 15 minutes after which Mr Lawan called for an executive session.

The issue of electronic voting has been a major recommendation from Nigerians and the lawmakers at some point, attempted to omit that section from the legislation.