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Senate to introduce diaspora voting, mandate electronic transmission of election results

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Ahead of the 2027 elections, the Senate is set to amend the Electoral Act to allow for diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections, to enable citizens to vote, especially those on essential service abroad, such as military, paramilitary, and other security personnel abroad, Embassy staff, and other citizens.

The Senate in a communiqué issued at the end of its retreat in Ikot Ikpene, Akwa-Ibom state also resolved to also, make electronic transmission of results mandatory from the next general elections in 2027, including the uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at different levels of result collation.

Sunday PUNCH reports that in events preceding and after the election that brought President Bola Tinubu into power, there were a lot of agitations to allow Nigerians abroad to take part in the elections.

Also, a number of Nigerians called for the electronic transmission of results from the BVAS machine.

The Senate noted that it was necessary for the Independent National Electoral Commission should be unbundled to improve its efficiency and effectiveness in the preparation and conduct of elections.

The communiqué stated, “Relating to the use of technology in elections, remove the ambiguity evident in Section 64 of the EA22. Also, make electronic transmission of results mandatory from the next general elections in 2027, including the uploading of polling unit-level results and result sheets used at different levels of result collation.

“Introduce diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections, to enable citizens to vote, especially those on essential service abroad, such as military, paramilitary, and other security personnel abroad, Embassy staff, and other citizens.

“Relating to political parties; stipulate sanctions for failure to submit the register of party members not later than 30 days before the date of party primaries, congresses, or conventions in relation to Section 77(3) EA22, which the political parties have observed in the breach in the 2023 elections without penalty.”

The 10th Senate further noted that it was time to develop and enact a comprehensive national security strategy that outlines the nation’s security objectives, threats, and policy priorities.

The Red Chamber added that such a strategy can serve as a guiding framework for legislative action in the security sector.

The strategy it noted would, “Address the root causes of terrorism/banditry, which is often driven by poverty, inequality, and a lack of opportunity.

“Promote community policing and engagement to identify and prevent terrorist attacks. The government should also work with civil society organizations and local/ traditional communities to identify and address security concerns. “

The Senate added that it would, “ Establish independent oversight mechanisms for the security sector. These mechanisms can help to investigate allegations of abuse and corruption and to ensure that security forces are accountable to the law.”

The Senate further agreed that legislative engagement and oversight in Nigeria’s security sector can be significantly bolstered through comprehensive legislative reforms.

“These reforms are essential for ensuring that the legislative branch is equipped with the necessary tools and mechanisms to fulfill its critical role in security sector reform,” it explained.

The Senate concluded that “The periodic engagement of the National Assembly with the security chiefs for adequate briefing. There is a need for the Senate President and the Speaker, House of Representatives to be part of the weekly security briefing that goes to the President.”

In a bid to salvage the economic situation of the country, the Senate has proposed the enactment of an Emergency Economic Intervention Bill.

It explained that “This will address critical socio-economic issues concerning foreign exchange management, tackling inflation, stimulating economic growth, and creating more jobs.

“Enforce consequences for violations of any provisions of the law regarding monetary and fiscal matters.

“This will require amendments to the relevant laws to ensure effective oversight and enforcement of the consequences, as the case may be.”

Also agreed was the “need for legislation that clearly defines the taxing rights of the three levels of government.

“ Need for legislative intervention to promote the optimization of revenue from non-oil sources, especially in the solid mineral sector.”