By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Contrary to the argument of members of Nigeria’s National Assembly (NASS) that electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria is not possible because there is not enough network coverage in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it has the capacity to do so.
No less a stakeholder than the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye has insisted it has the capacity to transmit election results electronically from remote areas across Nigeria.
Speaking on Saturday on Channels Television breakfast programme
‘Sunrise Saturday’, Okoye said the Commission’s position was clear on the subject matter and it has always been that it can transmit election results electronically as it has done in Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.
According to him: “We have uploaded election results from very remote areas in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, even from areas where you have to use human carriers to access.
“So, we (INEC)
have made our own position very clear, that we have the capacity and we have the will to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process.
“But our powers are given by the Constitution and the Law, and we will continue to remain within the ambit and confines of the power granted to the Commission by the Constitution and the law”, Okoye explained.
Nigerian Lawmakers in both chambers of NASS had been at loggerheads over electronic transmission of results earlier in the past weeks, even as the Senate and House of Representatives were thrown into disarray for three days running.
The Senate on Wednesday and
House of Representatives
on Thursday and Friday respectively
saw rowdy sessions as Members of the Red and Green Chambers debated Section 52(2) of the Electoral Amendment Act Bill, which deals with electronic transmission of election results.
All Progressive Congress (APC) Senators had earlier in the week forced through a version of the bill at the Senate that constrained INEC to seek permission from the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Assembly before employing electronic voting in any part of the country.
According to the Lawmakers opposed to sacrosanct electronic transmission of results, some parts of the country do not have the required network coverage.
Also, in the House,
an Executive Commissioner at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Adeleke Adewolu, told lawmakers on Friday that only 50 percent of the country has the 3G coverage required for transmission.
But, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, has poured cold water on the notion that the country and by extension, the Commission lack the capacity and technological knowhow to transmit election results electronically in every part of Nigeria at a time Nigerians in the remote areas can do electronic banking via their handsets or Point Of Sales (POS).