Senators disagree over electronic transmission of election results

The Senate had a rowdy session on Thursday while it considered the electoral act amendment bill especially clause 52(3) which indicated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable at its discretion.

Senator Sabi Abdullahi had sought for an amendment to the clause saying, “the commission may consider electronics collation of results provided the National Network Coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secured by the National Communication Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Abdullahi’s stance was against the amendment sought by Senator Bassey Akpan which was also the same as a recommendation by the INEC Committee that presented the report which indicated that the Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable at its discretion.

During voice vote, the nays had it as the minority leader challenged the ruling by the President of the Senate calling for order 73 which means division

The order states that any senator may challenge the opinion of the president or the chairman’s ruling on a voice vote by claiming a division on any matter before the upper legislative chamber.

Order 73 invocation had always rattled the 9th Senate leadership each time Lawan is being challenged.

Apprehensive of the consequences again the leadership of the Senate embarked on a division, the Senate leadership swiftly resorted to pleading with the minority leader Enyinanya Abaribe to back out but he refused to be coerced this time.

In the end, the voting commenced with the lawmakers voting according to party lines.

Most of the opposition senators who never wanted to be seen to go against the Senate President took to their heels before the voting started.

After the voting, results indicated that 52 senators voted for the Abdullahi amendment while 28 voted for Akpan’s proposed amendment while 28 were absent, the total number of votes 80.Senator Kabiru Gaya the chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC which recommended the clause also voted against his own report so also senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

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