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Electoral Act Amendment: What NASS should have done, says Fayemi

Kayode Fayemi the Governor of Ekiti State has said the National Assembly should have allowed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine if it was capable of transmitting election results electronically in the country.

There has been wide criticism over the failure of the National Assembly to ratify electronic transmission of results as the only mode of sending election results in the country’s electoral process.

While the House of Representatives, passed Clause 52, allowing INEC the discretion to decide whether to transmit election results electronically.

In the Senate, the Clause was amended to allow the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to decide on where and when electronic voting and electronic transmission of results should take place.

Read also: Reps pass Electoral Act without electronic transmission of election results, stop use of card readers

Stakeholders fear that the decision of NASS may have just put to rest any hope of a free and fair general election in 2023.

But while featuring as a guest on Channels Television personality interview program, News Night, part of which was broadcast on News at 10 on Sunday, Fayemi said there was justification for the controversy which trailed the amendment of the Electoral Act in both chambers.

“If I have the opportunity to ask, and I had some discussion with some people about this, I would have argued strongly that we leave this matter for the electoral commission to handle, rather than macro-manage the electoral commission or bring in the NCC or the National Assembly as the final arbiter of what happens to electronic transmission of result,” Fayemi said.

The Ekiti Governor, who is the chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF), stressed that there was no need to bring in the National Communication Commission (NCC) in the issue, while the controversy the issue generated gave the impression that the lawmakers had a special interest which was not.

“I strongly think we can handle it differently and, unfortunately, it has been handled the way it has been handled,” he said.

It gives the impression that there is some surreptitiously hidden agenda which there isn’t, and when I spoke to our representatives in the National Assembly they tried to explain that; for us particularly in the Senate which was where it is more contentious, that it was more not against electronic transmission of result, but for an amendment that was brought before them you could say it is a distinction without a difference,” he added.

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