By Peter Duru – Makurdi
The Senator representing Benue North West Senatorial District, Senator Orker Jev has said Nigerians would lose confidence in the credibility of the 2023 elections if the National Assembly fails to pass into law an Electoral Act that provides for the electronic transfer of election results as requested by Nigerians.
He urged his colleagues to have a rethink warning that the current Act as passed by the Senate would not stand the test of time as it faced the prospect of being knocked out in a court of law.
Senator Jev who spoke to Vanguard, Sunday, in Makurdi, noted that since the Act as passed by the senate would impede on the independence of INEC, and being a constitutional matter, any attempt to constrain INEC to refer to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, or the Senate before conducting an election would certainly not stand.
He said, “the bill that was presented on the floor by the committee says ‘do electronic transfer of results if practicable’. I voted for that because that is what Nigerians want from us according to the opinion they have been expressing so far. So what problem do you have with that?
“It was a straight forward thing. I cannot understand why somebody from some of these urban states would stand up and say there is no network in my place therefore I vote no. And you are also tying the hands of INEC which is unconstitutional.
ALSO READ: At last, Senate steals INEC’s independence
“You shouldn’t begin to say that NCC should tell INEC that they have enough network and all what not. You don’t tie INEC’s hands or legs in that matter in doing their jobs; it has to be unfettered.
“And then INEC shouldn’t turn to the National Assembly each time there is supposed to be an election. That is the purport of what they are saying in that amendment that survived.
“So, I think somebody has to have a rethink somewhere otherwise Nigerians will lose some confidence in the 2023 election. We need to do something that will give confidence because elections are the beginning of the building of leadership that would be saddled with the responsibilities of taking the country forward. So when you don’t have that, it lowers the confidence of the people and for me that is not good enough.
“Like other Nigerians I think that what we passed will impede on the independence of INEC because it is a constitutional matter. The constitution gives them unfettered powers to organize and conduct elections as they deem fit.
“And so you cannot begin to say that when an election is coming you’ll have to go to NCC to determine whether they have enough network and then you come to the National Assembly. It means that you are tying their hands like I said earlier.
“So I don’t think that would stand. I agree with those who are of the opinion that it will not stand the test of time. I read a beautiful work by the Governor of Sokoto State where he condemned what happened. He brought it out beautifully and he is a lawyer himself. He pointed out that if that is done, it means that any lawyer that goes to court can knock it out, and as a lawyer I agree with that.”