By Iduozee Paul, Benin
National Vice chairman of the South-South Zone of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih, has called on the National Assembly to retain the electronic transmission of results as originally contained in the Electoral Act.
Chief Dan Orbih, made the statements in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin city Edo state.
The PDP chieftain was reacting to the removal of the electoral voting and result collation clause from the Electoral Act now amended by the National Assembly.
“Nigerians should resist the removal of electronic transmission of election results during elections from the Electoral Act because it is an invitation to unending electoral fraud.”
Chief Orbih said the introduction of electronic transmission of election results during elections from the polling units to the collation centres was conceived by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove result manipulation during elections.
He said the initiative was well applauded by all concerned, as over the years, Nigerians had been concerned over how to make elections free and fair in the country.
“It seems that at the moment some people have started saying ‘Oh, it will be difficult to manipulate the electoral process if the electronic transmission of results is allowed to remain in the Electoral Act’.
“Some of our leaders who know they have not done well to win back the confidence of Nigerians through the ballot box are now against electronic transmission of results.
“If you ask them, why they are opposed to it, they will not give you any reasonable answer other than this fear of eradicating possible manipulation of results during the elections.
“So for me, I think everything should be done to ensure that that clause is not removed from the electoral Act. Everything should be done to improve our electoral system, so that people will have the confidence that their votes will count on Election Day”.
He said electronic transmission of results would ensure that votes count.
“This to a large extent will help us eliminate the manipulation of results in elections in Nigeria.
“Doing that we will be strengthening our democratic process and improving the electoral process itself,” he said.
The South South leader also said that leaving the jurisdiction of electoral matters solely on the Federal High Court would not be the best for the country.
He further noted that most of the election related cases were time bound, and must be disposed of within a very short period of time.
“So when you restrict this challenge to Federal High Courts alone, I’m afraid we may have lots of cases just waiting for the federal high courts to decide within the short period that they must be taken care of.
“With this scenario, it means even pre-election matters should go to the federal high courts. Honestly I don’t know how that will help our system,” Orbih said.
On the gale of defection from the PDP by some members, Orbih said selfish interest on the part of those leaving the party was responsible.
“Those who are leaving us are those who have something to hide and are looking for where to hide. They are those who have personal interest not for the good of all, but personal interest to promote and protect it.
“I want to borrow the now famous saying of Gov. Nyesom Wike, ‘that there is no justification for any person to leave hope for hopelessness”.
The South South leader further faulted the proposed 30 per cent for exploration in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
According to him, “I have never seen anything in practical terms to capture the wise saying that you cannot ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ than this PIB. “It shows the long term marginalization of the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta. “It shows the obvious wickedness of our leaders to continue to deny them adequate compensation over challenges arising from the drilling of oil in these communities”.
Orbih stressed that the agitation of the people of the region.