Rejection Of Electronic Transmission Of Election Results By Senate Is Not Surprising – Okutepa [SAN]

*Says Majority Of Politicians Cannot Win Free And Fair Elections
*Says NASS Makes Laws Based On Selfish Interests

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Jibrin Samuel Okutepa, has bared his mind on the Senate’s rejection of electronic transmission of results

Okutepa, in a statement made available to TheNigeriaLawyer, said the rejection is not surprising because majority of politicians cannot win free and fair elections. That though Nigerian government claims to be practicing democracy, in reality, it does not. According to him, in Nigeria sovereignty does not belong to the people.

He said, “There is no way the majority of the present crops of members of the National Assembly will past any law or legislation that will ensure electronic transmission of results of elections in Nigeria.

“I am not surprised and no one should be surprised that the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has subjected the power of INEC to do its constitutional duties to NCC and even the National Assembly when it comes to transmission of election results electronically.

“First majority of Nigerian politicians cannot win any free, fair and credible election in this country. While Nigerian government pretends to be practicing democracy, what we have as a system of government cannot be a democracy. It is an assemblage of a system that has all the attributes of Apartheid.

“In Nigeria sovereignty does not belong to the people. So any laudable system that can guarantee that sovereignty returns to Nigerian people will be scuttled and resisted by those who have forced themselves on us as our law makers when in actual definition they are daily breaking our laws.”

The Learned Silk made reference to a statement made by Abdul Mahmud and faulted the National Assembly for subjecting INEC duties to NCC. He said the National Assembly does not want to be accountable at the next elections

“My learned friend Abdul Mahmud Esq made the point that no one with knowledge in constitutional construction can fault.

“This what he wrote: ‘Before INEC can transmit electronically, NCC must adjudge national coverage is adequate and secure, and National Assembly must approve.

The above proviso of Section 52(3) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 is in conflict with Section 78 of the Constitution 1999Section 78 of the Constitution 1999 provides:

The registration of voters and conduct of elections shall be subject to the DIRECTION and SUPERVISION of INEC.

DIRECTION here simply means ‘the act of governing; management; superintendence’ of elections, while SUPERVISION means the state of being in charge of elections; ‘regulating and monitoring elections’.

The powers granted to NCC and NASS under S.52(3) of the Electoral Act are thus in conflict with S.78 of the Constitution.

S.52(3) is void by virtue of S.1(3) of the Constitution 1999.’

“Abdul has made a very valid point. Honestly, I see primordial partisan selfish interest in the whole process. Our political class does not want free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

“The reasons are not too far-fetched. They don’t want accountability at the next elections because majority of them have nothing to show for being in the National Assembly and even at the executive levels for these years.

So there is what I see as a legislative conspiracy against free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria. There are plans for elections in Nigeria to remain perpetually not free, fair and credible to the prejudices of Nigerian people and in favour of the political class who see public offices as an avenue to loot our national treasury unchecked.” Okutepa stated.

The Learned Silk further stated that political parties do not have internal democracy because those who parade themselves as democrats are actually despots. He called on the judiciary to come to the aid of democracy.

He said, “Furthermore those who parade and masquerading around as democrats are indeed despots and not democrats. That also accounts for the reason why you cannot see internal democracy in any of the existing Nigerian political parties.

Clearly, the Nigerian judiciary must come to the aid of Nigerian democracy. The outright rejection of card reader machines and the results generated therefore by the judiciary in Nigeria is one of the greatest disservices the judiciary has done to Nigerian democracy.

“Those decisions have not only emboldened the political class to imposed themselves on us using thugs and thuggish approaches but it has led to what I called gunshots and helicopter democracy in which those who lost elections imposed themselves on us and were declared and imposed on the people.

“For me, I did not see how the National Assembly can make law for free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria when law making in Nigeria in most cases is based on selfish interests of those in power instead of the nationalistic interest of Nigeria as a country. It is a pity.”

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