JUST IN: Senate to allow Diaspora voting and electronic transmission of election result

Senate approves President Buhari’s N2.3 trillion loan request

The Nigerian Senate has proposed that starting in 2027, all election results and result sheets used at collation centers should be electronically transmitted to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja before the final declaration of winners.

In addition, the Senate has recommended the implementation of diaspora voting, which would allow Nigerians residing abroad to vote for their preferred candidates in elections back home.

These proposals were included in a communique issued at the conclusion of a two-day retreat for senators in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

The retreat, organized by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILDS), was attended by members of the executive arm, including the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Senate also highlighted the need to remove the ambiguity in Section 64 of the Electoral Act in order to facilitate the use of technology for transmitting elections.

“Introduce diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections, to enable citizens to vote, especially those on essential service abroad, such as military, paramilitary, and other security personnel abroad, embassy staff, and other citizens.

“Relating to the use of technology in elections, remove the ambiguity evident in Section 64 of the EA22. Also, make electronic transmission of results mandatory from the next general elections in 2027, including the uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at different levels of result collation,” the communique reads.

Senate’s recommendation for electronic transmission of election results is coming a week after the INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, promised that the results of the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo States would be uploaded on its Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

Ahead of the last general election, the commission had repeatedly promised that it would upload polling station results to iRev. However, it delayed in doing so, a situation it blamed on unforeseen system glitch.

The failure of INEC to upload the results of the 25 February presidential election promptly on its portal formed a major kernel of the petitions filed by the presidential candidates of the PDP and the Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, at the Presidential Election Petition Court challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court however dismissed their petitions. The opposition candidates are currently appealing the judgement at the Supreme Court.

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