The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has rejected the exclusion of electronic transmission of results from the Electoral Act amendment Bill, describing it as a coup.
The bill is expected to be passed into law by the National Assembly this month.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Agbo Major, IPAC said the exclusion would amount to “a coup” against Nigerians who desire and deserve credible elections.
IPAC noted that the action was unacceptable and repugnant to free and fair elections. As the umbrella body of 18 registered political parties and a critical stakeholder, IPAC said it submitted memoranda on the Electoral Act and Constitution amendments demanding an electronic voting system and transmission of results.
“This was the consensus of all stakeholders at various meetings and public hearings. It is unfair and unjust for the leadership of the National Assembly to thwart and sabotage the will, desire, and expectations of Nigerians for credible elections that meet international standards.
“More importantly, political parties are deregistered for failure to win a legislative seat, among others. It will be an uphill task for political parties, not in government, to win elections if the process is grossly flawed.
“Election is the beauty of democracy as sovereignty resides with the people. The mandate of the electorate in a free and fair election must, therefore, be respected. To do otherwise is an invitation to the anarchy that characterised most elections in Nigeria since independence in 1960,” IPAC warned.
IPAC urged the National Assembly to expunge Section 50 (2) of the proposed bill. According to the section, “electronic voting provided that the commission shall not transmit results of the elections by electronic means.”
The statement added, “IPAC demands the immediate expunging of the clause to save Nigeria’s democracy and the credibility of the nation’s elections. The purpose of the electronic voting and transmission of results is to guarantee the sanctity of the ballot box.
“Thus, curb rigging and flagrant manipulation of electoral outcomes as results are often mischievously doctored and falsified at collation centres.”