The National Assembly has passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and approved the electronic transmission of results.
The two chambers gave the approval on Tuesday, after a three-week recess, thus reversing its earlier decision.
According to the amendment, Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, now reads: “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting”.
Accordingly, while adopting the conference committee report yesterday, the Senate approved the re-amended clauses to provide for direct primaries for aspirants to all elective positions.
In all, 21 clauses were harmonized, including the contentious clause 52; which makes provision for Electronic Transmission of Election Result, ETR.
The lawmakers settled for the Senate version which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and grants it the discretion to deploy Electronic Transmission of Results.
On the nomination of candidates by political parties as contained in Clause 87, the National Assembly again adopted and passed the version of the Senate on direct primary, against indirect arrangement or leaving the option open for the political parties to decide.
The adoption of direct primary by the National Assembly is bound to conflict with the interest of Progressives Governors’ Forum, PGF, who met in Abuja on Monday to express their displeasure on direct primary arrangement.
In the House of Reps, a similar report was laid and adopted, with the lawmakers saying the bill would be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent in seven days.
Briefing journalists after plenary, the Chairman House Committee on Telecommunication. Akeem Adeyimi, who had earlier laid the report for consideration in the Committee of the Whole, said the National Assembly was done with the bill.
He said: “Today (yesterday), the National Assembly has finally concluded its own side of the Electoral Act amendment bill. On the floor of the House of Representatives today , November 9, 2021, the process that started since 2010 to get Nigerians an Electoral Act amendment for the sake of our elections and related matters was laid on the floor by me, after which the House went into the Committee of the whole, with the speaker presiding to consider the report.
”All the processes regarding this amendment has finally been concluded today (yesterday). The next phase is Presidential assent.”
Similarly, the House Spokesman, Benjamin Okezie Kalu said it was memorable day for National Assembly as it had successful passed the bill into law.
In his remarks, speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said: “We must all agree that the Electoral Act is something we need to wave running behind right now.
“Nigerians have been asking for this day since June.”
The bill will now go to President Buhari for assent.