Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the National Assembly, on Wednesday, backed governors of the Southern states on their stance on the Electoral Act Amendment bill.
Southern governors had on Monday, after their Lagos meeting rejected a move by the National Assembly leadership to expunge sections that provide for electronic transmission of election results from the Electoral Act Amendment bill.
The lawmakers were set to pass the bill with no room for electronic transmission of results despite calls for such a reform in Nigeria’s electoral process.
Senate Minority Leader and head of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who spoke with reporters on Wednesday, said PDP lawmakers are taking steps to ensure that the provision guaranteeing the electronic transmission of results is not tampered with “in any form whatsoever.”
He said, “The joint PDP national assembly unanimously upholds the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum (SGF) in vehemently rejecting the clandestine moves to manipulate and alter the electoral act to remove the electronic transmission results from the law.
“Such furtive venture to tamper with a critical component of transparency and credibility of the electoral process is an unpatriotic and mischievous attempt to subvert our democratic process, institutionalise rigging, bastardize and frustrate genuine efforts towards credible elections in our country.
“Electronic transmission of results is the only way to eliminate malpractice and manipulations associated with manual collation of results, including alteration, switching and disappearance of election materials while on transit to various collation centres.”
The minority leader said the PDP lawmakers are still making a case for state police.
He said, “The Joint PDP caucus reaffirms our unwavering support for the establishment of state police as well as other measures adopted by the governors to ensure the security of lives and property in the respective states, including those curtailing unauthorised movements and occupation of forest areas.
“We also affirm the demands by state governors, that as chief security officers in the states, they must be duly informed before any security institution undertakes any operation in their states.
“The joint PDP caucus, also lends full support to the demand by our governors that deductions from the federation account for the Nigeria Police Security Trust Fund should be distributed among the states and federal government to combat security challenges.”