The new Electoral Bill to be passed by the Senate today has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the discretion of deciding whether the results of the election should be transmitted electronically or not, LEADERSHIP gathered yesterday.
The report of the Senate Committee on INEC was laid before the red chamber for consideration and passage today.
LEADERSHIP had earlier reported on Sunday that the much -talk -about electoral act bill 2021 will be passed this week.
Nigerians have been asking the National Assembly not to temper with the clause that provided for the electronic transmission of results in the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment Bill 2021).
There has been an uneasy calm over rumours that the clause that provided for electronic transmission of results in the draft copy of the bill is conspicuously missing.
But the Senate Committee headed by Sen Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South), said the insinuations were all rumours.
Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Feminist Womanifesto Group, Centre for Democracy Development (CDD) Yiaga Africa among others have warned the National Assembly members not to temper with the clause that provided for electronic transmission of results.
But the bill sighted shows that the electronic transmission of results is provide in clause 52(3) but with a caveat.
According to the bill, clause 52(1) stated that voting at an election under the Bill shall be by open secret ballot.
In clause 52(2) states that, “Voting at an election under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting.
In clause 52(3) the bill stated: “The Commission may transmit results of elections by electronic means where and when practicable.
The electoral bill is also proposing a N2, 000,000.00 fine or imprisonment for a term not more than two years or
both for anyone who sell or offer to sell his or her voter card.
Also, the bill is proposing imprisonment for a term not more than one year for anyone who registers twice in the voter register.
According to the bill: “A person shall not register in more than one registration centre or register more than once in the same registration centre.
“A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (2) commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not more than N100, 000.00 or imprisonment for a term not more than one year or both,” according to the bill obtained.
It was gathered that, “any person including an entity who is in illegal possession of any voter’s card whether issued in the name of voter or not; sell or offers to sell any voter’s card issued in the name of any voter or not, or buys or offers to buy any voters’ and whether on his or her own behalf or on behalf of any other person; commits an offense and is liable, on conviction, to in the case of an individual, a fine not more than N2, 000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term not more than two years or both, and in the case of an entity, a fine of N5, 000,000.00.”
It was gathered that electronic transmission of results which has been clamoured for by Nigerians is missing in the draft bill.
The bill provides that candidate or political party that exceeds the limit placed by the Commission commits an offence and is liable on conviction to-(a) in the case of political party, a fine not more than N10 million and forfeiture of the amount donated and (b) in case of an individual, a fine of five times the amount donated in excess of the limit placed by the Commission.
Senatorial and House of Representatives contests, according to the bill, shall not exceed N1.5 billion and N500 million respectively.
Spending for candidates in the State House of Assembly election shall not exceed 50, 000, 000, 00 while the same amount was also pegged for chairmanship candidates and N500,000 for those contesting for councilors seats in the Federal Capital Territory.