By Femi Ogunshola
There was a stormy session in the House of Representatives on Thursday over Section 52 (2) of the Electoral Amendment Bill which proposed electronic transmission of election results.
Controversy started when the Deputy Speaker of the house, Ahmed Wase, who presided over consideration of the 153-clause Electoral Amendment Bill report, put Section 52(2) into vote.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 153 clauses were considered one after another by the lawmakers at plenary.
Section 52(2) of the draft bill proposes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.
It further states that voting at an election and transmission of results under the bill shall be in accordance with procedures determined by the commission.
Wase, however, ruled in favour of those who voted “No” against electronic transmission of election results, while those who said “Yes” to electronic transmission of result were ruled out.
Trouble started when those who voted in favour of electronic transmission of election results protested.
Rep. Shehu Koko (APC-Kebbi) in his motion for amendment of the section argued that there should be manual transmission of election results while the election itself should be by electronic voting.
But Rep. Toby Okechuwuku (PDP-Enugu) countered this motion, arguing in favour of both electronic voting and transmission of election results.
Rep. Nkiruka Onyejeocha(APC-Abia) however, seconded the motion by Okechukwu, urging that election results should be transmitted electronically while voting should also be conducted electronically.
Wase in his remarks, however, said electronic voting and transmission of results would disenfranchise those who do not have access to the requisite infrastructure such as network availability.
Rep. James Falake (APC- Lagos) also proposed that the two should be accommodated.
He argued that the decision on manual or electronic transmission.should be at the discretion of INEC.
The Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said those arguing for either manual and electronic transmission of election results should not impose their will on one another.
Gbajabiamila also made a case for Option A4 which allowed for open ballot system, a plea which was defeated by the house via voice vote.
There was stalemate on mode of transmission of election results as at the time of filing this report.
Deliberation on the issue was, however, adjourned to 10. a.m on Friday.