Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has vowed to take all necessary legal steps against the decision of the lawmakers elected under the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which restricted the electronic transmission of results in the passed Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
The PDP rejected the amended bill, accusing the APC lawmakers of trying to “murder democracy”.
The New Diplomat had reported that during the reading of the bill, Thursday, some APC senators rejected a section that would have allowed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) transmit election results electronically to it data base using its own discretion and acting alone.
The Senate then rephrased the section following the rejection of the electronic transmission of results by the APC senators to ensure INEC seeks approval from the National Assembly and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) before going ahead to transmit results using electronic means.
This generated into heated argument and chaos as lawmakers argued for and against the controversial clause.
The bill was, however, passed with 52 senators of the APC fold voting that NCC and the National Assembly should determine where and when electronic transmission of results should be used and subject to the approval of the National Assembly. Twenty-eight senators of the PDP fold voted for electronic transmission of results by INEC without encumbrance.
Also, the House of Representatives, Friday passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, despite the PDP lawmakers staging a walk out.
Reacting to the decision of the senators at a press conference on Friday, national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said the amendment passed by the lawmakers cannot stand, as according to him, it is “a big scam.”
Secondus said the party will take all necessary legal steps to ensure that the “APC scam” is not allowed to stand in any way.
In his words, “We have called you this afternoon to join our voices and anger with that of Nigerians and all lovers of democracy in condemning what happened in the National Assembly yesterday Thursday and today Friday,” Secondus said.
“How a representative of the people enjoying their mandate blatantly turned their back on them and toed the line of a political party interest that is clearly against the people.
“By the choice of the All Progressives Congress, APC to put party interest before National interest, they have vividly murdered democracy by the actions of their members in the two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday and today. For us in PDP, today is a Black Friday for democracy.
“It’s an established fact in all democracies world wide that a free, fair and credible election is the tripod of any democracy. The action of APC in swaying their members against Electronic transmission of Election Results clearly undermines and shows in unmistaken terms that APC is not ready to face the Nigerian electorates.
“It also shows that the dilly-dallying of APC all the while in amending the Electoral Act is deliberate as they never wanted from inception to do anything that will deepen democracy in our country.
“This is notwithstanding that the party is a huge beneficiary of Electoral Reform carried out by the PDP administration.
“We therefore, unequivocally condemn and reject the amendment of Electoral Act as passed by the National Assembly and urge President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfil his anti-corruption crusade and see this as corruption and the big scam.
“The PDP will take all necessary legal steps to ensure that this APC scam is not allowed to stand in any way.
“We therefore call on all lovers of democracy who see free, fair and transparent election as vital, to stand up against this fraud.
“Before I end these remarks gentlemen of the Press, may I commend members of the PDP in the two chambers for standing up for democracy when it mattered. History will be favourable to them.
“I would like to also urge the Press as vanguard in the democratic struggle to take up their arms against this anti democratic action.”