Why I voted against electronic transmission of results in Electoral Act amendment – Omo-Agege

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The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, at the weekend turned logic upside down in his attempt to clear himself from perceived sabotage of southern senators in the Nigeria National Assembly on the controversial electoral act amendment. Omo-Agege in a statement at the weekend, denied voting against electronic transmission of election results, while admitting voting in support of the amendment of Clause 52(3) of the Bill (on e-Transmission), which did not give express approval to the adoption of electronic transmission of results as discretionary power of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the approval of the National Assembly. Majority southern senators opposed the amendment while all APC senators supported it.

The deputy senate president in a statement by his Special Adviser on Legislative and Plenary Matters, Prince Efe Duku, argued that “with the data analysis from the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) that less than 50% of the country’s domain is effectively covered, granting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ‘unfettered electronic transmission power’ would have created opportunity for unequal treatment of votes across the country.” He was of the view that such legislation would have been a major blunder in the lawmaking process which could have been easily upturned in a court of law when challenged.

The statement read in part: “For him, the message from this data is that if INEC is allowed unfettered e-Transmission power, then, there will be unequal treatment of election results and that would be a fundamental lawmaking flaw.

“So, he stood firm to prevent such a move that would have led to a needless waste of legislative resources and time.”

Omo-Agege in a seeming mix-up, stated that contrary to what his detractors want the people to believe; ‘he did not vote against electronic transmission of election results but was on the side of a few courageous senators who voted for an amendment that guarantees secure e-transmission of election results and uniformity in the proposed law’.

According to the statement, “Senator Ovie Omo-Agege did not vote against e-Transmission of election results.

“Rather, the Deputy President of the Senate wisely and courageously voted for an amendment to Clause 52(3) of the Bill (on e-Transmission) to guarantee secure e-Transmission of all election results and uniform application of e-Transmission everywhere in the country, not just some parts of it.

“In simple terms, the Obarisi of Urhoboland voted to support an amendment that ensures, for example, that INEC does not transmit only election results in Urhobo electronically while other areas may have their results transmitted otherwise and safely. “For him, all election results must be treated equally under a uniformly applied standard.”

The statement indicated that the Deputy Senate President admitted that he voted in support of e-Voting as contained in Clause 52(2) of the Bill which was duly passed by the Senate.

“This is a major gain for our democracy. It has huge annihilating consequences for historical election rigging in our polity, but we shall not say more for now,” the statement denoted.

The deputy senate president, therefore, appealed to the people to ignore ‘the antics of defeated anti-democratic elements and their mischievous commentary or speculation’ that he voted against e-Transmission of results and electronic voting.

Omo-Agege, accordingly, declared: “Those grandstanding with mischief as their only weapons of offence are only labouring in vain. Their defeat was perfectly executed by a majority of the Nigerian Senate. Not being democrats, they believe they may still achieve their sinister agenda through misinformation and outright falsehoods.
That will not stand.

“In view of the foregoing, we hereby, confidently assure our people that all is well as far as the ongoing Electoral Reform is concerned. Senator Omo-Agege as a leading champion of the reform since he first stepped into the Red Chamber in the 8th Senate is protecting the best, strategic interest of our people and the nation.”