E-TRANSMISSION: The Deputy President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, appreciates the honour to represent the good people of Delta Central Senatorial District and indeed the entire Urhobo Nation in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as itself a solemn duty that demands divine guidance, deep wisdom, flawless reasoning, and courage to make informed decisions in the best interest of our people and the Nation as a whole.
2.0. Senator Omo-Agege knows that Urhobo as Nigeria’s 5th largest ethnic nationality does not countenance false premises in decision-making, especially by those who are privileged to be chosen as leaders. He is therefore accordingly properly guided in all his actions and inactions as a lawmaker because he knows that laws once enacted often have far-reaching ramifications, sometimes beyond the lifetime of the legislators who make them.
3.0. Specifically, on the ongoing conversation on the subject of Electronic Transmission (E-Transmission) of election results under Clause 52(3) of the Electoral Bill 2021 (in the Senate), and a vote taken on an amendment of this clause during the July 15, 2021 session of the Senate Committee of the Whole, and other issues arising from the passage of the Bill in the Senate, we have deemed it proper to sustain our respect for our people by assuring them further with these clarifications:
As a chief architect of and resourceful actor in the ongoing electoral reform, Senator Omo-Agege supports Electronic Voting (E-Voting) as contained in Clause 52(2) of the Bill and this was duly passed by the Senate. This is a major gain for our democracy. It has huge annihilating consequences for historical election rigging in our polity, but we shall not say more for now.
Our people should therefore discountenance any mischievous commentary or speculation to the contrary. Those grandstanding with mischiefs as their only weapons of offence are only labouring in vain. Their defeat was perfectly executed by a majority of the Nigerian Senate. Not being democrats, they believe they may still achieve their sinister agenda through misinformation and outright falsehoods. That will not stand.
Further, the Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege did not vote against E-Transmission of election results. Rather, the Deputy President of the Senate wisely and courageously voted for an amendment to Clause 52(3) of the Bill (on E-Transmission) to guarantee secure E-Transmission of all election results and uniform application of E-Transmission everywhere in the country, not just some parts of it. In simple terms, The Obarisi of Urhoboland voted to support an amendment that ensures, for example, that INEC does not transmit only election results in Urhobo electronically while other areas may have their results transmitted otherwise and safely. For him, all election results must be treated equally under a uniformly applied standard.
Indeed, Senator Omo-Agege as an erudite lawyer knows that it is unconstitutional for the National Assembly to enact an Electoral Act that is inherently discriminatory in its design and intended application. For him, to pass the test of constitutional validity, the law must apply uniformly to all electoral domains in the country, otherwise such a law could be easily struck down by a court if taken for judicial reviews by those who may be negatively impacted.
Further, in arriving at his thoughtful decision, Senator Omo-Agege was guided by unimpeached data from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) that E-Transmission of results is only possible in less than 50% of all electoral domains in the country. For him, the message from this data is that if INEC is allowed unfettered E-Transmission power, then there will be unequal treatment of election results and that would be a fundamental lawmaking flaw. So he stood firm to prevent such a move that would have led to a needless waste of legislative resources and time.
4.0. In view of the foregoing, we hereby confidently assure our people that all is well as far as the ongoing Electoral Reform is concerned. Senator Omo-Agege as a leading champion of the reform since he first stepped into the Red Chamber in the 8th Senate is protecting the best, strategic interest of our people and the Nation.
SIGNED: Prince EFE DUKU, Special Adviser to the Deputy President of the Senate on Legislative & Plenary Matter