By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tuesday dismissed reports that the lawmakers were plotting to remove electronic transfer of election results from the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The helmsman of the Green Chamber, also stressed that they are yet to receive the report from the committee.
Gbajabiamila was responding to a point of order raised by a member, Rep. Ozurigbo, who said his constituents have inundated him with calls, demanding why the lawmakers would refuse electronic transfer of election results.
Ozurigbo said, “A number of Nigerian have been calling me to express worry about the alteration to the electoral act.
“I don’t know the information going around where they said that we carefully amended section 50 subsection 2 that the agreed electronically transmitted election result have been changed to manually transmitted. I think my privilege has been breached.”
Responding, the Speaker said he has made it a habit not to respond to every media report, as the Committee saddled with the responsibility of working on the Electoral Act was yet to submit a report to the House.
He said, “the House will follow its normal procedure in considering clause by clause of the Bill when the Committee submits its report. I have asked the Chairman of the Committee and she told me that she was not aware of that.”
CSOs protest at National Assembly
Meanwhile, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of Alliance of Civil Society Organizations for Expression of Electoral and Democratic Space has stormed the National Assembly, protesting the exclusion of some provisions, such as electronic voting, financial autonomy for INEC, protection of people with disabilities, in the new Electoral Act.
The aggrieved protesters were armed with placards, with inscriptions such as, “SaveOurElections #NigeriansDeserveFreeAndFairElection and so on”.
The CSOs alleged a sudden emergence of a strange Section 50(2) in the new draft of the Bill, which completely outlaws transmission of votes by electronic means.
The Bill is expected to be passed this week by both chambers of the National Assembly.