Showdown looms in Senate as Northern lawmakers may frustrate inclusion of electronic transmission of results in Electoral Bill | NN NEWS

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As the National Assembly prepares to embark on its annual vacation, there are strong indications that the Electoral Amendment Bill maybe passed into law this week. 

Daily Sun has gathered that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, declined moves by principal officers of the upper legislative chamber to push for the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill last week. 

A source said Lawan opted for passage of the Bill this week after which the National Assembly would embarks on an eight-week vacation on Thursday and till late September. 

The source said the move by Lawan is to insulate the Senate from any backlash that may follow the possible exclusion of electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from voting points to the central server during elections. 

The source said Lawan is worried that the uproar that trailed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) may occur again when the Electoral Bill is passed. 

He said Lawan is hoping that the outcry or fallout may have fizzled out when the parliament resumes late September or early October. 

Daily Sun equally gathered that plans by southern lawmakers to push for the inclusion of electronic transmission of results, maybe twarted by their northern counterparts, who are insisting that their region is not ripe for electronic voting yet.  

A source said a meeting had already been held by key northern lawmakers with governors from the region on how to stop the move. 

The source said lawmakers and northern leaders pushing for the non-inclusion of electronic transmission of results are predominantly from the North West, North East and from States controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the region. 

He said many states in North Central have opted to support their counterparts in the South with the exception of Kogi, Niger and Kwara states. 

The source said Taraba and lawmakers from northern minorities may also join their counterparts in supporting the inclusion of electronic transmission of results. 

It was also learnt that at the Kabiru Gaya-led committee on INEC, senators could not find a common ground on the controversial issue. At their last meeting, many senators reportedly expressed disbelief about the alleged smuggling of the controversial Clause 50 into the document which has since gone viral. 

A member of the committee told Daily Sun that majority of members of the panel insisted that the clause must be yanked off or the entire amendment process would be jettisoned. 

Last week, southern governors met in Lagos where they resolved, among other things, that electronic transmission of results must be included in the ongoing Electoral Amendment. Since then, more vocal southern leaders, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in both chambers of the National Assembly have called for the inclusion of electronic transmission of results. 

In another development, plans are underway to confirm Lauretta Onochie as a national commissioner of INEC despite opposition from a cross section of Nigerians. 

A fortnight ago, leaders of the PDP, led a protest to the National Assembly and urged Lawan-led Senate not to confirm her. 

In their petition addressed, PDP leaders said confirming her would pose a serious danger to the conduct of the 2023 general elections. 

Lawan, had on June 9, directed the Senate’s INEC committee to screen Onochie and four other nominees. 

Onochie, who is a member of the ruling APC and a serving aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, claimed she is not partisan. 

“Well, not anymore,” she had said when she appeared for screening. 

Some senators who spoke to Daily Sun in confidence, said they were worried that Lawan may ignore the wishes of Nigerians and lawmakers and approve he confirmation. 

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