The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, has commended the Nigerian Senate for reversing itself on electronic transmission of results, saying it’s a victory for democracy and progressive governance in Nigeria that will go a long way in deepening the nation’s political process and enable inclusive, free, fair, credible, transparent and generally acceptable elections.
IPAC, in a statement issued, yesterday, in Abuja, by its National Publicity Secretary, Ambassador Agbo Major, said IPAC will continue to intervene on critical national issues to jointly strengthen the nation’s frail democracy.
“Political parties have been deregistered for failure to win legislative seats among others when the electoral process is grossly flawed, making it difficult for new parties not in government to win elections. With the electronic transmission of results, each vote will now count and be counted in the overall result. The ballot is sacrosanct, the mandate of the people must be respected. Election is the beauty of democracy. We will keep improving till we get it right as obtainable in advanced democracies,” IPAC said.
On its part, Nigeria’s Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, believes that the Senate has finally done the right, but that it should not be applauded the Senate for doing so.
The Senate, yesterday, bowed to outrage and outright rejection of the 2021 Amended Electoral Act by Nigerians earlier in July as they upturned their position against electronic transmission of election results.
In a majority decision, they have now given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) full powers, like voting, under the bill, shall now be in accordance with the procedure determined by INEC.
The Senators had earlier denied the Commission the power to transmit results of elections electronically but rather empowered the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Assembly to determine the use of electronic transmission for elections; though the lower chamber was more circumspect in dealing with clause 52(3), leaving electronic transmission of results in the hands of INEC.
The Senators during the consideration of what they referred to as re-committal of amended clauses for an act to repeal the Electoral Bill 2021, No. 6, and enact the Electoral Act 2021, yesterday, adopted the position of the lower chamber.
On the nomination of candidates by political parties, the Senate also adopted the resolution of the lower chamber, which recommended direct primary as mandatory on political parties.
The clause is now amended to read: “A political party seeking to nominate candidates for elections under this Bill shall hold direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions, which shall be monitored by the Commission.”
Explaining reasons for the amendments, the Senate insisted that the decision to endorse the use of direct primary in the electoral amendment bill was not targeted at whittling down the powers of the governors. The governors had been accused of not only hijacking the party structures in their respective states but are known to have relied on the indirect mode of primaries to impose their stooges on their parties.
However, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, disagrees with the position of the Senate, on direct primaries.
“Our party makes bold to state that with the exception of the APC, which intends to deploy looted funds in a future elections, hardly will there be any political party that will be able to raise the cost of conducting internal elections under a direct primary process,” PDP stated, in a statement released by its national publicity secretary.
Similarly, the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, has said direct or indirect primaries should be left at the discretion of the leadership of political parties.
“This direct primaries is a direct assault on parties to freely determine the most suitable means of conducting its internal affairs. This is interference into the affairs of the party by taking away the right of party organs to make decisions for the smooth running of party activities.
“APC is using its majority in the National Assembly to manipulate the Constitution in their favour and force the decision of APC down the throat of other parties. This authoritarian will of APC majority is not good for our democracy,” the CUPP said.