From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The minority caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday staged a walkout, as the House passed the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The walkout by the opposition lawmakers was in protest over the ruling of the deputy speaker, Idris Wase, on a proposal for the inclusion of electronic transmission of election results in the proposed electoral law.
The House had adjourned clause-by-clause consideration of the proposed electoral law on Thursday, after a fracas broke among lawmakers over the ruling by Wase, at the Committee of the Whole.
The deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu had on Thursday proposed an amendment to Section 52(2) of the proposed electoral law to the effect that the transmission of election results should be done electronically.
When the proposal was subjected to a voice vote, majority voted in favour of it. However, the deputy speaker ruled in favour of those who voted against the proposal.
The development threw the House into crisis with members engaging themselves in fisticuffs. Consequently, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila adjourned proceeding to yesterday, and invited the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu and the Nigerian Communications Commission (INEC) to address the House.
However, at the resumption of the House, on Friday, the speaker said the leadership decided against inviting the INEC chairman because it felt the electoral commission should not be part of the discourse.
Nevertheless, the NCC Executive Commissioner, Technical Service, Maska Ubale, who represented the commission, said only 50.3 percent of the 19,0000 polling units in the country are covered by 2G and 3G network.
According to him, there is a possibility that the system can be hacked. “No system is safe from hacking. The election in the United States in 2016 there is widespread belief that it was hacked by the Russians,” he said.