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PDP vice chairman: Electronic transfer of results, a must for free, fair polls

PDP vice chairman: Electronic transfer of results, a must for free, fair polls

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-south has called on the National Assembly to retain electronic transmission of results in the Electoral Act

The National Vice Chairman, South-south of the party, Dan Orbih, made the call on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin.

He was reacting to the purported removal of the provision for the electronic transfer of result provision from the proposed amendment Act currently being debated by the National Assembly.

“Nigerians should resist the removal of electronic transmission of election results during elections from the Electoral Act because it is an invitation to unending electoral fraud,” Mr Orbih said.

The introduction of electronic transmission of election results from the polling units to collation centres during elections was introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to halt result manipulation during elections, Mr Orbih said.

He noted that the initiative was well applauded by all concerned, as over the years Nigerians had been concerned about free and fair elections in the country.

“It seems that at the moment some people have started saying oh, it will be difficult to manipulate the electoral process if the electronic transmission of results is allowed to remain in the Electoral Act.

“Some of our leaders who know they have not done well to win back the confidence of Nigerians through the ballot box are now against electronic transmission of results.

“If you ask them why they are opposed to it, they will not give you any reasonable answer other than this fear of eradicating possible manipulation of results during the elections.

“So for me, I think everything should be done to ensure that the clause is not removed from the electoral Act.

“Everything should be done to improve our electoral system so that people will have the confidence that their votes will count.

“This, to a large extent, will help us eliminate the manipulation of results in elections in Nigeria.

“Doing that, we will be strengthening our democratic process and improving the electoral process itself,” he said.

The PDP chieftain also said that leaving the jurisdiction of electoral matters solely on the Federal High Court would not be the best for the country.

He noted that most of the election cases were time bound, and must be disposed of within a very short period of time.

“So when you restrict this challenge to federal high courts alone, I’m afraid we may have lots of cases just waiting for the federal high courts to decide within the short period that they must be taken care of.

“With this scenario, it means even pre-election matters should go to the federal high courts. Honestly I don’t know how that will help our system,” Mr Orbih said.

On the gale of defections from the party by some members, Mr Orbih said that selfish interest on the part of those leaving the party was responsible.

“Those who are leaving us are those who have something to hide and are looking for where to hide.

“They are those who have personal interest not for the good of all, but personal interest to promote and protect.

“I want to borrow the now famous saying of Governor Nyesom Wike, ‘there is no justification for any person to leave hope for hopelessness’”.

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