The House of Representatives give their approval to the use of card readers and forbade INEC from deploying any other gadgets for elections.
On Sunday, more information concerning the house of representatives’ amendments to the electoral act became available.
INEC’s use of smart card readers for elections was allowed by the House.
However, the electoral umpire may not be able to utilize any other gadget during the election.
The House included the restriction in the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2020 enacted on Friday
Between Thursday and Friday, the House considered the report of the Committee on Electoral Matters, during which members offered a number of amendments.
Prominent among the amended clauses is section 49(3), which reads, “Where a smart card reader or any other technological device deployed for accreditation of voters fails to function in any unit and a fresh card reader or technological device is not deployed, the election in that unit shall be cancelled and another election shall be scheduled within 24 hours. If the commission is satisfied that the result of the election in that polling unit will substantially affect the final result of the whole election and declaration of a winner in the constituency concerned.”
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, pleaded with the House on Thursday to remove the phrase “or any other technical device” from the provision.
Gbajabiamila said, The question then remains, what do you mean by ‘any other technological device?’ Do we want to make sure that our Act is watertight and devoid of any kind of manipulation? That word (phrase) is too ambiguous. It could mean anything; it could mean your phone – your smartphone, it could mean a pen or any device.
The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, who presided over the Committee of the Whole to consider the clauses, however, said, “Other technological devices could come in other forms. Smartphones may not be the only form. Your computer is not a smart phone. So, you could apply a computer, that is why the word ‘any other technological device.’”
Wase also stated that the provision would allow the law to take into account future technology improvements. He also mentioned that computers, which are also devices, are used during polls.
Insisting, Gbajabiamila said, I’m not sure I got you there. What I’m saying is that ‘any other technological device’ has no definition. It can mean anything. We know that we have a smart card reader; that is what we are using. So, why expand it to mean either smart card reader? By this provision, what we are saying is, any other smart card reader…Anyway, let us put the question.
As a result, Wase put the Speaker’s proposed change to a voice vote, and it was unanimously approved.