The Nigeria Senate has on Thursday passed an amendment to the Electoral Act 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in subsequent elections. It also approved that election results should be electronically transmitted to collation centers.
The passage of bill followed the consideration of the report of the Nigeria Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and for other related matters (SB 231 and SB 234).
The major highlight of the new bill include provision for the use of electronic voting by INEC during subsequent elections, use of Card Reader and also gives INEC power to modify the voting process if there is a challenge.
Nigeria Senate also approved a provision to enable INEC transmit the result of elections electronically in an encrypted and secured manner to prevent hacking.
To address the incident that happened in Kogi State, during last gubernatorial election, the amended Electoral Act provides that if a candidate dies before results of elections are declared, the results will not only remain valid but belongs to the political party that lost its candidate.
It also added that in such a scenario, the INEC should suspend the elections for 21 days during which period the affected political party will conduct fresh primaries to choose a new candidate.
The Bill also gives political parties power to adopt direct or indirect primaries in choosing their flag bearers, while qualification of disqualification of candidates for elections will be solely based on the Constitution.
In his comments after the adoption of the report by the Red Chamber, Nigeria Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, thanked his colleagues for a job well done and expressed optimism that the Bill would further improve the nation’s electoral system and also contribute to good governance.
Saraki said: “Distinguished colleagues, let me thank all of you for this job well done. I want to particularly thank the members of the Committee on INEC and particularly the former chairman of the Committee, Abubakar Kyari, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and all the members of the committee who have worked very hard to ensure the passage of this very important bill which addresses our electoral process and goes on to strengthen our democracy.
“We have touched on new areas which I believe will improve the credibility of our elections and by so doing, definitely improve our democracy and good governance.