NEWS

Lawmakers Express Mixed Reactions Over Electoral Act Amendment

Some members of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed mixed reactions to the Senate’s approval of electronic voting and the use of the card reader in future elections under the amendment of the Electoral Act, 2010. The mixed opinion of the lawmakers was across party lines in the All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dominated chamber.
House of Representatives The House is expected to give its concurrence or otherwise to the amendments before they can be forwarded to the president for assent before the amendments can have the force of law.
Leading in the opposition of the introduction of Card Reader is the Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, who described it as a fraud, although he was supportive of the introduction of electronic voting.
“The card reader is a fraud, but I support electronic voting,” Ogor said as he described the amendment carried out in the senate as a welcome development but tagged the card reader as an instrument of rigging as according to him it disenfranchised many Nigerians during the 2015 general polls.
He explained that “we must sit down to perfect the electronic voting in our electoral process but I’m totally against the card reader because it’s a clear instrument of rigging. “The card reader is not in the best interest of Nigerians and should be thrown over board and electronic voting should mount the centre stage as it ‘ll benefit all and sundry.”
There is nothing with Card Reader — Gogo, PDP Rep But Rep. Bright Gogo, representing Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency of Rivers State on the platform of the PDP on his part said there was nothing wrong with the new amendments as they would reduce fraud and introduce transparency. Gogo said, “what we are all looking at is a credible election and if we must have a credible election, then we must have to change from this traditional methods of manually doing things. The world is going digital.
“Though human beings will still have to operate the machines, but electronic voting will to an extent, eliminate some of the ills we cry about, those collation fraud and all that.” He, however, expressed concern about the level of literacy and power infrastructure needed to push through electronic voting. “If these things are strengthened, all these issues of power, issues of proper education of voters, it will be a good development.
I see nothing about it, especially the collation because most times, rigging or electoral fraud is perpetuated at the point of collation at the LGA level, at the state level. If these things are electronically done, there will be a degree of assurance.” On the fears expressed by some members of the PDP, he said, “I am of the PDP and I am not kicking against it.
Elections are local, provided you know where you are coming from and you have your electorate behind you and with one man one vote, there will be nothing strange to you. Nigeria not matured for electronic voting, card reader —Maren In his own reaction, the member representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Rep Solomon Bulus Maren said Nigeria with epileptic power supply was not ripe for electronic voting. Maren said, “The issue of electronic voting is even constitutional.
So there is the need for us to first do the amendment of the constitution before we can further go ahead to talk of electronic voting. “In the first place, the use of card reader is another illegal way of voting even though some people are arguing that it is not used for voting, it is only used for the accreditation of voters, but voting is not only one activity, it is a process. “It starts from the verification of voters list up to the thumb printing, counting and even declaring of results.
All these are parts of voting. We need to understand it in that manner before we can now begin to say that yes, we can actually allow the issue of electronic voting.”

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Adeeko Ademola

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