There was a rowdy session in the Senate on Thursday July 15, 2021, following a resolution by the 9th Senate empowering the National Communications Commission (NCC) to determine that a network is adjudged secured and approved by the National Assembly before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can transmit election results electronically.
Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Abdullahi had during consideration of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill report by the Senate proposed that Section 52(3) reads: “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable” to read that “the Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means provided that the network has been adjudged secured by the NCC and approved by the National Assembly.”
The amendment sought was upheld by the Senate after it was put to voice vote.
Senator Bassey Albert Akpan also proposed an amendment that Section 52(3) of the Bill as contained in the Bill which reads: “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable” be upheld.
The proposal was defeated when it was put to voice vote.
This development threw the session into an uproar and rowdiness as the Senate was practically divided along Northern and Southern lines.
Almost all the Senators were on their feet while proceeding was temporarily halted.
The development later forced Senate President Ahmad Lawan to order a closed session at 1.55pm.
The Senate later resumed its consideration of the Electoral Act Bill report at 14:10pm after the closed session.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, raised a point of Order citing order 73 of the Senate Standing Orders.
He called for division of Senate to enable Nigerians know who opposed or supported the proposed amendment by Senator Akpan.
After a lot of back and forth, Lawan agreed the Senate be divided to determine the provision of Section 52(3).
Lawmakers were, thereafter, called upon one after the order and asked to vote verbally.
At the end of the exercise, 52 senators, mostly of the All Progressives Congress (APC) voted that NCC and the National Assembly determine where electronic transmission of results will be used and subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
Consideration of the bill is still underway.
The issue of electronic voting has been a major recommendation from Nigerians and the lawmakers at some point attempted to omit that section from the legislation.