Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who was also a presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has said the legislation by the National Assembly (NASS) on the matter of electronic transmission of election results is not sensible and does not promote good faith.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, he said the country does not need the National Assembly to guide or direct some operations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Moghalu was responding to a recent vote at the Senate, establishing that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.
“We don’t need the National Assembly trying to micromanage INEC or trying to subject INEC to yet another body of government,” Moghalu said.
Furthermore, he argued that INEC is an independent electoral body and cannot be subjected to the say-so of another body of government, saying it was absurd that the Senate seeks to be a referee in a match in which it is also a player.
Moghalu maintained that INEC must not be deprived of its independence as an electoral body.
“There is nowhere in the world, not even in the United States or advanced countries where electronic coverage is 100 percent all the time.
“There are places in the US when you are traveling you may not have a network, it doesn’t mean that electronic transmission of results will not be able to work, the INEC itself has assured you that they have alternative ways as backups to ensure a fair outcome for everybody in the country no matter what part of the country you are in.
“That assurance from the body that the constitution has given the mandate to see to it that our elections are credible should be enough,” Moghalu argued.
Some lawmakers had argued that electronic transmission of electoral results would disenfranchise many Nigerians in the rural areas where there are no network coverages.
This notion led to a serious debate in the Senate, degenerating into a rowdy session as the congressmen contested the amendment of section 52(3) of the electoral act amendment bill.
The Senators had also voted publicly along party lines, with 28 legislators mostly from the PDP voting for the original amendment in the report, while 52 others mostly from the APC voted for the revision proposed by Senator Sabi Abdullahi which stated that INEC may consider electronic transmission provided the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by NCC and approved by NASS.
Meanwhile, INEC has said it can transmit election results electronically from remote areas across the country, but, the NCC says it cannot guarantee total safety, noting that results can only be transmitted by a 3G network which only 50 per cent of the country has.
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