…As NASS adopts conditional transmission of election result
As the controversy trailing the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill with regards to the electronic transmission of election results clause in the Bill continues, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has allayed the fear being entertained by some persons in the society, assuring that “all is well.”
The Senator, who represents Delta Central Senatorial District in the Senate, said the decision of the National Assembly was in the best interest of his constituents and the country at large.
Omo-Agege gave the explanation in a statement signed and released by the Special Adviser to the Deputy President of the Senate on Legislative & Plenary Matters, Prince Efe Duku. He stated that whatever decision the Senate has adopted on the electronic transmission of election results, was supported by him and guided by wisdom, reasoning and courage in the interest of all.
The Deputy President of the Senate explained that he was guided by his deep knowledge of the needs of his constituents and the fact that law, once made, would have a far-reaching ramifications, adding that it may even outlive the lawmaker that made the law.
Explaining further, Omo-Agege said that he threw his weight behind the Clause 52 (3) of the Electoral Bill 2021 in the Senate because it has a consequential effect of wiping out rigging syndrome that has bedeviled the electoral process in the country for so long.
He said: “Specifically, on the ongoing conversation on the subject of Electronic Transmission (E-Transmission) of election results under Clause 52(3) of the Electoral Bill 2021 (in the Senate), and a vote taken on an amendment of this clause during the July 15, 2021 session of the Senate Committee of the Whole, and other issues arising from the passage of the Bill in the Senate, we have deemed it proper to sustain our respect for our people by assuring them further with these clarifications:
“As a chief architect of and resourceful actor in the ongoing electoral reform, Senator Omo-Agege supports Electronic Voting (E-Voting) as contained in Clause 52(2) of the Bill and this was duly passed by the Senate. This is a major gain for our democracy. It has huge annihilating consequences for historical election rigging in our polity, but we shall not say more for now.
“Our people should therefore discountenance any mischievous commentary or speculation to the contrary. Those grandstanding with mischiefs as their only weapons of offence are only labouring in vain. Their defeat was perfectly executed by a majority of the Nigerian Senate. Not being democrats, they believe they may still achieve their sinister agenda through misinformation and outright falsehoods. That will not stand.”
Efe Duku further explained that contrary to insinuations from a section of the public, Senator Omo-Agege did not vote against E-Transmission of election results, adding that instead, the Obarisi of Urhobo land voted for an amendment to Clause 52(3) of the Bill that centred on E-Transmission to allow a secure E-Transmission of all election results and ensure a uniform application of the amended clause throughout the country and not just some parts of it.
“Further, the Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege did not vote against E-Transmission of election results. Rather, the Deputy President of the Senate wisely and courageously voted for an amendment to Clause 52(3) of the Bill (on E-Transmission) to guarantee secure E-Transmission of all election results and uniform application of E-Transmission everywhere in the country, not just some parts of it.
“In simple terms, The Obarisi of Urhoboland voted to support an amendment that ensures, for example, that INEC does not transmit only election results in Urhobo electronically while other areas may have their results transmitted otherwise and safely. For him, all election results must be treated equally under a uniformly applied standard.
“Indeed, Senator Omo-Agege as an erudite lawyer knows that it is unconstitutional for the National Assembly to enact an Electoral Act that is inherently discriminatory in its design and intended application. For him, to pass the test of constitutional validity, the law must apply uniformly to all electoral domains in the country otherwise such a law could be easily struck down by a court if taken for judicial reviews by those who may be negatively impacted.
“In arriving at his thoughtful decision, Senator Omo-Agege was guided by un-impeached data from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) that E-Transmission of results is only possible in less than 50% of all electoral domains in the country.
“For him, the message from this data is that if INEC is allowed unfettered E-Transmission power, then there will be unequal treatment of election results and that would be a fundamental lawmaking flaw. So he stood firm to prevent such a move that would have led to a needless waste of legislative resources and time”, he said.
He assured the Urhobo people that all is well as far as the Electoral Reform is concerned, adding that as a leading champion of the reform since the 8th Assembly, the Deputy President of the Senate has always protected the strategic interest of his constituents.
“In view of the foregoing, we hereby confidently assure our people that all is well as far as the ongoing Electoral Reform is concerned. Senator Omo-Agege as a leading champion of the reform since he first stepped into the Red Chamber in the 8th Senate is protecting the best, strategic interest of our people and the Nation”, he concluded.