Senate constitutes conference committee on Electoral Act

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan has named a seven-member Conference Committee of the Senate to join their counterparts in the to harmonise the two versions of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill 2010, passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly.

According to Lawan, the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, is to serve as the of the Senate conference committee.

Other members of the committee are the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Kabiru Gaya representing North West, Senator Danjuma Goje (North East) and Senator Sani Musa (North Central).

Others are Senator Matthew Urhoghide ( South), Senator Ajibola Basiru (South West) and Senator Uche Ekwunife (South East).

The two Chambers had passed the Electoral Act Bill without agreement on the mode of transmission of results.

While the Senate’s version of the Bill stipulates that INEC has to get clearance from the Nigerian Communication Commission(NCC) with approval from the Senate that there is sufficient mobile network coverage to transmit results electronically, the House’s version provided that INEC can transmit results electronically where and when practicable.

A cursory look at members of the conference committee constituted by Lawan shows that four of the members- Senators Abdullahi (Leader), Gaya, Goje and Musa- voted that INEC should seek clearance from NCC with approval of Senate before transmitting results electronically.

This position which approved by the Senate was widely interpreted by Nigerians as an attempt to stop INEC from transmitting results electronically.

Only Senator Urhoghide voted for electronic transmission of results while Senator Ekwunife absent during the voting exercise.