The Senate has passed the harmonized Electoral Act Amendment Bill which includes approval for the electronic transmission of election results which had been a contentious issue.

The passage by the upper legislative chamber, which was done on Tuesday, follows the resumption of plenary by members of the National Assembly after a 3-weeks recess and the harmonization of the bill by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

A seven-man conference committee had been constituted by the Upper chamber to meet with members of the House of Representatives Conference Committee and harmonise the differences in the Senate and House versions of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

On October 12, the Senate had bowed to pressure and giving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the sole power to determine the mode of transmission of results. This followed the reversal of its earlier decision that INEC may consider the electronic transmission of results “provided national [network] coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure” by the Nigerian Communications Commission and approved by the National Assembly.

Under a new amendment of Clause 52 (2) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the Senate resolved that “voting at an election and transmission of results under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission, which may include electronic voting”. Shortly after the Senate’s approval, the House Of Representatives also passed the bill, completing the process of amending the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.