The senior lawyer said that the bill will not only give legal backing to the use of card readers in the polls, but also improve the credibility of elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Naija News recalls that President Buhari has withhold his assent to the electoral act bill for the fourth time citing irregularities and close proximity of the bill to next year’s election has the reason for refusal to sign the bill into law.
In a letter sent to the national assembly, Buhari said he is “concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.”
However, in a letter addressed to the National Assembly, Agbakoba insist that the President reason is invalid and absurd.
He said giving legal backing to the use of card readers in the election was necessary after the supreme ruled out their use in elections because the electoral act 2010 which is being amended does not provide for them.
“It will be recalled that the Supreme Court declared use of Smart Cards as contrary to the Electoral Act 2010, so the 2018 amendment is intended to give INEC a legal basis to use Smart Cards and Electronic Technology,” the letter dated December 10 read.
“The 2018 bill also introduced the extremely important procedure of transmitting results of votes from Polling Units by electronic means. Electronic transmission will remove rigging and enhance the credibility of the Vote Count.
“INEC says it is familiar with the amendments contained in the 2018 Electoral Bill. INEC has used smart cards at all elections from 2015. INEC has submitted an election budget which provides for Smart Cards and transmission equipment.
“The President claims that part of the reason for withholding Assent, is that INEC will not have enough time to become familiar with the 2018 Bill and that a new Act will generate confusion. This is simply incorrect and flies in the face of INEC’s announcement that it will not use incident forms or manual voting in 2019 elections.”
He said circumstances show INEC is ready to deploy electronic technology for 2019 elections and “only requires that the Electoral Act provides a legal framework.”
“Distinguished and Honourable Members of NASS, are please urged to override Mr. President and enact 2018 Electoral Act,” Agbakoba said.