Senate Passes Amendment To INEC's Act
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The Nigerian Senate has passed amendments to the Electoral Act 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in future 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 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).
Major highlights of the new bill include provision for the use of electronic voting by INEC during future elections, use of Card Reader and also gives INEC power to modify the voting process if there is a challenge.
The Federal Lawmakers 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 draft 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.
Presiding over the session, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, commended the Legislators for concluding the consideration of the proposed document and expressed optimism that the Bill would further improve the nation's electoral system and also contribute to good governance.
Saraki is optimistic that the passage of the Bill will address challenges facing the electoral process as well as strengthening the Nation's democracy and the credibility of elections.
The Senate President further pointed out that some of the new sections added, in the area of technology, the smart card reader, and particularly the area of collation will go a long way to reduce some of the irregularities in the electoral processes.
The Lawmaker assured that the Senate will join hands with the house of representatives to quickly fast track the passage to the executive for immediate assent ahead of a credible and transparent 2019 general elections.