Nigeria: APC and Electronic Transmission of Results

1 August 2021

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The glimmer of hope that the country will have a free and fair election in 2023 general election had been dashed by our senators. Section 52(3) of the electoral amendment bill 2021 which provides for electronic transmission of election results from the polling unit received a kiss of death by the APC senators after a rowdy session in the Senate. In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the card reader which was part of the drive to checkmate multiple voting, detect election fraud and ensure free and fair election, the APC which was desperate to clinch power commended the bold initiative. There is no gainsaying the fact that APC was the beneficiary of the card reader machine in 2015 general election.

The election victories recorded by the party across the country could be credited to such technological innovation. Little wonder many Nigerians expected the National Assembly to maintain the momentum by passing the section 52(3) of the electoral bill into law, and pave the way for electronic transmission of results. By its name, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), should act independently according to the laws that established it. For the Senate to insist that INEC should collaborate with Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the possibility of adequate network coverage in the country and seek for its approval before it adopts electronic transmission of result raises serious suspicions on its part.

The million-naira questions begging for answers are: why did majority of APC senators vote against the electronic transmission of result? Are they acting on the script of their party to frustrate any genuine efforts to have a credible and acceptable poll in 2023? It is either the ruling party plans to rig the 2023 as suspected or is jittery that the transmission of result electronically will expose it to serious defeat. The civil society organisations and Nigerians should wake up and reject this glaring rape of our democracy.

- Lawal Adamu Usman, Kaduna State

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