…Asks the Citizenry to Liaise With Reps, Senators On Any Offending Sections Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, says that presiding officers of both chambers of the National Assembly are not in any position to determine the outcome of amendments to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill under consideration. Against the backdrop of growing insinuations by some
…Asks the Citizenry to Liaise With Reps, Senators On Any Offending Sections
Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, says that presiding officers of both chambers of the National Assembly are not in any position to determine the outcome of amendments to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill under consideration.
Against the backdrop of growing insinuations by some Nigerians that the leadership of the National Assembly was bent on accommodating contentious clauses in the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill presently before it, that would stop the transmission of election results electronically, Lawan wants the citizenry to perish the thought even as this feeling remains rife.
A communique released after the Southern Governors Forum’s meeting in Lagos on Monday, by its Chairperson, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, the Ondo State Governor, says, “To consolidate our democracy and strengthen the electoral process, the Southern Governors’ Forum rejects the removal of the electronic transmission of the election result from the Electoral Act; and also rejects the confirmation of exclusive jurisdiction in pre-election matters on the Federal High Court.”
Their position is coming against feelers from the National Assembly that some senators mostly from the North, are angling for striking out electronic transmission of results from the new Electoral Act, which is likely to be passed next week. Their argument is anchored on the fact that most parts of the north are not connected to the internet.
Already, there’s heightening campaign to galvanize the people against the move to strike out transmission of results from the Electoral Act.
National Chairman, People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Mr Falalu Bello, who authored a piece titled, “CALL TO END ELECTIONS RIGGING IN NIGERIA,” and circulated to many Whatsaap platforms at the weekend, says,
“Please I urge everyone on this Platform and all you know to please NOTE this and ACT now.
“The National Assembly intends to pass the ELECTORAL ACT this week and unfortunately, the law they intend to pass is going to PROHIBIT Electronic Transmission of Results.
“What this means is RIGGING TILL ETERNITY. There are also other ridiculous provisions, but this explicit prohibition of transmitting results electronically from the polling unit so that they can continue to rig at the collation centres and write results is the most annoying.
“So please, send a text to Speaker Gbajabiamila and Senate President Ahmad Lawan that the people want to end election rigging in Nigeria and electronic transmission of results is what will guarantee the death of rigging,” he admonishes.
But Lawan who’s miffed at these campaigns, dismissed it, asking the citizenry to liaise with their representatives in respect of any offensive sections.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Commissioner and Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission in Abuja, the Senate President reveals that the upper chamber will consider the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill within the next two weeks after the presentation of a report by the Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters.
He, therefore, advised Nigerians to engage their representatives in both chambers of the National Assembly on whatever issues they feel strongly about in the bill.
Lawan said, “The National Assembly is embarking on the amendment of the Electoral Act, probably by next week or within the next two weeks.
“It is very important that those who feel very strongly about any amendments that they think should be effected in the Electoral Act should contact or talk to their members in the House of Representatives as well as Distinguished Senators.
“I want to state categorically here that presiding officers are not the ones to determine what is carried or what is not.
“So, it is very important that in the same way, the Public Complaints Commission is utilized properly by the general public.”
The Senate President further charged the newly sworn-in Commissioners of the Public Complaints Commission to shun acts that would stifle fairness, transparency and accountability in the discharge of their duties.
Lawan reminded them that the Commission is a machinery for the control of administrative excesses, non-compliance or non-adherence to administrative procedures or abuse of power.
“It is principally an organ of government setup to redress complaints lodged by aggrieved citizens or residents of Nigeria against administrative injustice”, he says.
The Senate President assured the Commission of the support of the National Assembly in the area of funding and amending the Public Complaints Commission Act 1975, which has not been amended in the last forty-five years since its enactment.
“We are not unaware of some challenges confronting the Commission, the National Assembly is making efforts to overcoming the challenges facing the Commission, and that is largely funding.
“The Ombudsman institution is acclaimed worldwide as the machinery for the control of administrative excesses and providing the due reliefs and redress to citizens and foreigners residing in Nigeria”, Lawan added.
Earlier, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Public Complaints Commission was conceived to, amongst other things, address issues of Human Rights abuses.
“It is clear that the Public Complaints Commission is a product of necessity due to Human Rights abuses, societal victimization, high-handedness and other forms of practices of maladministration.
“Such ugly practices had long been noticed in Nigeria of all places, and promoted the birth of the Commission in 1975, and its metamorphosis into a statutory vehicle in 2004”, Gbajabiamila said.