…says it has capacity to transmit electronically
The Ogun State Residence Electoral Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Olusegun Agbaje yesterday insisted that the Commission is absolutely empowered by the constitution to transmit election results electronically without seeking the approval of the National Communication Commission (NCC). Agbaje, who just assumed duty as the new REC of Ogun state, disclosed this at a press conference in Abeokuta, the state capital. The National Assembly had insisted that the Commission must seek the approval of NCC before transmitting election results electronically.
The federal lawmakers de-clared that the Commission is to consider the electronic transmission of results provided the national coverage is adequate and secure by the NCC as approved by the National Assembly. But, Agbaje disagreed with the National Assembly’s position insisting that INEC has constitutional backing to transmit election results electronically without the approval of NCC and urged the federal lawmakers not to stop INEC from performing its constitutional role. The REC said it would be a great disservice to Nigerians and her democracy if the National Assembly prevents INEC from transmitting election results electronically.
He said: “The Commission is in no way shy in transmitting election results electronically. In fact, we have the capacity to do that. We are only waiting for the National Assembly not to disturb us. Even as we are now today, I believe that the Commission has enough reason and legislation to back us to do this. “People have been saying there is no law backing this, but we have a law, unfortunately that law signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan was not brought out before the 2015 general election, but it was signed before the election. We have that law which also backs us to conduct our election using technology.
“Even without the National Assembly coming to our aid, the law we have has already capacitated us to go ahead to do transmission if the National Assembly will not stop us because if they are going ahead with this committee they have set up at the two houses, if the two houses now resolved that we should not do it, it means that there is a new law again banning us. “But we have a law that has already capacitated us to do this thing, but if they are going to ban us then that will be too bad. But with the shout of Nigerians, the media, NGOs and others, I believe that the National Assembly will do the right thing by allowing INEC to go ahead.
“If there is any way that they think that the NCC can help, or if NCC is having challenges, let them go ahead and improve in those areas where they think they are having challenges, because they have enough time. To INEC, we don’t see any problem, we are very much ready and we have the capacity to do it.” Agbaje lamented the low participation of eligible voters in the first quarter of the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise in the state.
According to him, Ogun recorded the lowest registration of voters in Southwest, compared to Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states. Giving the figures of registered voters so far, Agbaje said, 46,937 residents of the state registered online while only 12,231 completed their physical registration. He added that, Osun has 63,259 completed voters’ registered; while Ondo has 20,632 and 19,128 people have registered in Ekiti State.