The Senate ruled out the possibility of having results transmitted electronically when it voted that the Nigerian Communications Commission, with National Assembly approval, would determine whether the Independent National Electoral Commission could transmit results electronically or not.
Those who voted against electronic transfer of results hinged their decision on the fact that the NCC had said only 43 per cent of Nigeria had internet network.
The Senate, however, on Thursday, finally passed the long-awaited Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 after division among its members on electronic transmission of results.
The approval came following an amendment to Clause 52(3) by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North) during consideration of a report by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The amendment was seconded by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South).
The Committee in its recommendation initially prescribed that, “The Commission (INEC) may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.”
This, however, was amended by the Deputy Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi to read, “The Commission may consider electronic transmission of results, provided the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the National Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.”
At the end of the physical voting, which lasted for about 40 minutes, a total of 80 Senators voted, out of which 52 voted for the amendment made by Abdullahi and 28 voted for original provision of the clause.
As announced by the Clerk, 28 Senators were absent during the division and voting session.
While all the 52 Senators who voted for the amendment belonged to the APC, 26 out of the 28 Senators who voted against the amendment belonged to the PDP, indicating party lines of voting.
Ironically , the Chairman of Senate Committee on INEC , Senator Kabiru Gaya who presented the report with original provision of clause 52(3), voted against it by saying no to Senator Albert Bassey’s call for its retention.
Those who voted against recommendation
At plenary, two Lagos Senators – Oluremi Tinubu and Solomon Adeola, – voted against the original recommendation of the committee, which called for adoption of electronic transfer of results. Senator Tokunbo Abiru was however absent.
Other APC Southern senators who voted against it included Senators Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North); Ovie Omo-Agege (Delta Central), Peter Nwaoboshi (Delta North), Francis Alimikhena (Edo North) and Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central); Degi Eremienyo (Bayelsa East); Robert Boroffice (Ondo North), Basiru Ajibola (Osun Central), Frank Ibezim (Imo North), and Adelere Oriolowo (Osun West).
Others APC senators are Adamu Abdullahi (Nasarawa West), Tanko Al-Makura (Nasarawa North), Akwashiki Godiya (Nasarawa South), Mohammed Sani (Niger East), Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi (Niger North), Bima Enagi ( Niger South); Dimka Ayuba (Plateau Central), Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) Yusuf Yusuf (Taraba Central), Isa Shuaibu Lau (Taraba North) Bomai Ibrahim Mohammed (Yobe South), Sahabi Ya’u (Zamfara North) and Lawali Hassan Anka (Zamfara West).
Ishaku Elisha (Adamawa North), Dahiru Aishatu Binani (Adamawa Central), Jika Daudu Haliru (Bauchi Central), Bukachuwa Adamu Muhammad (Bauchi North), Abubakar Kyari (Borno North), Shettima Kashim (Borno Central), Ali Ndume (Borno South) also voted against the recommendation of the committee.
Also in the above category are Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central), Amos Bulus (Gombe South), Alkali Saidu (Gombe North), Hadeija Hassan Ibrahim (Jigawa North East), Abdul-Kwari Suleiman (Kaduna North), Uba Sani (Kaduna Central), Kabiru Gaya (Kano South), Ahmad Babba Kaita (Katsina North), Mundiya Bello (Katsina South), Abdullahi Barkiya (Katsina Central); Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), Abdullahi Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central), Oseni Yakubu (Kogi Central), Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West), Isah Jibrin (Kogi East), Lola Ashiru (Kwara South) and Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).
A PDP Senator, Stephen Odey (Cross River North) also rejected it.
Those who voted for
Those who voted for electronic transfer of results were mostly PDP members. They are Adenugba Fadahunsi(Sun East), Clifford Ordia (Edo South) Matthew Urhoghide (Edo Central), Kola Balogun (Oyo South), Gyang Istifanus (Plateau North), George Sekibo (Rivers), Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti) South, Mpigi Barinada, Betty Apiafi, (Rivers) Abdullahi Danbaba (Sokoto) and Philip Aduda (FCT).
Others are Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu) Abdullahi Ibrahim Danbaba, Francis Onyewuchi , Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South) Patrick Akinyelure (Ondo Central) and Enyinnaya Abaribe
All the three Senators from Anambra and Ogun states , were absent from the start of the physical voting. Also, two out of the three senators from Oyo State were not in the chamber before the commencement of voting.