Buhari to Send Harmonised Electoral Bill to National Assembly

  •   Ken Nnamani’s committee submits report next week

By Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

A member of the Presidential Committee on Electoral Reforms, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, has said the report of the committee will be ready in the next few weeks.
He also said the committee expects President Muhammadu Buhari to send a harmonised version of what the Senate, House of Representatives and that of the Presidential Committee on Electoral Reforms headed by Dr. Ken Nnamani to the National Assembly for passage into law.

Stating these during a telephone conversation with THISDAY in Abuja, Nwakwo said all the relevant sections in the Electoral Act had been amended to accommodate technological innovations in future elections as there is no refrain from the constitution prohibiting the use of technology during elections.
He added that the report of the presidential committee would be ready before the end of the month and that the president would send an executive bill to the National Assembly for harmonisation.
“Amendments were made to the use of the card reader in the Electoral Act, in terms of the constitution there is no constitutional restrain; because the relevant sections in the Electoral Act were amended to provide for the method of voting, collation and transmission of results.”
‘’But it’s also important to emphases that this amended Electoral Act is only the Senate version; so we will have to wait for the House’s version. Hopefully, we should have the report of the Ken Nnamani committee report by the end of this month. The president would have to send his own proposal as an Executive Bill to both houses of the National Assembly. The National assembly will harmonize the bill and send it to the President for assent.

’You know the Senate’s version, which I hope will be upheld by both houses will be sent to the President for assent,’’ he stated.
Nwakwo further said the Electoral Act as amended by the Senate empowers the Independent Electoral National Commission (INEC) to use technology in the conduct of elections such as the use of card readers for accreditations and voting, compilation and transmission of results.
He added: “The Senate version empowers the sending of polling unit results to a central server, which then is collated at that level. It empowers media observers to use technology send whatever result they have.
“Once anybody has the polling unit results, he can collate across all of the polling units to get the totality of the results. I think that will aid credible elections and help civil society, the media and the political parties to get a well collated result.”
He said people can only project a possible winner based on the collated figures but will have to wait for INEC to declare the official result
“I don’t think anybody can announce result; it is the responsibility of INEC to announce results. I think what people can do is to project likely winners of elections because if you can tabulate polling units results yourself and that is what this law is seeking to achieve, then you can project a winner without necessarily announcing the result.”
‘’It happened in the Ghana in the last elections in December and I was there that the polling unit results were accessible to the media, observers and political parties and the opposition already knew at 10pm on the night of elections that they have won and the following morning it was just a formality announcing it.
‘’So I think we have to get to that point where you do not have somebody in INEC watching and altering results after they have seen the calculations and seen that their preferred candidates are not winning.” he said.