The Senate has urged Nigerians to remain peaceful and support the processes leading to the collation and announcement of the 2023 presidential election results in line with extant laws.
The Senate resolution followed the adoption of a motion in the lead-up to the announcement of election results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The motion was sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Oloriebe of APC-Kwara State.
Oloriebe, citing Orders 41 and 51, presented the motion on the need for calm and appealed to political parties, stakeholders, and Nigerians to abide by the existing laws on the declaration of election results.
He said it was important for the Senate to be involved in ensuring harmony among political parties.
He, however, urged all political actors, leaders, and Nigerians to remain calm and allow the collation and announcement of presidential and national assembly elections to proceed, based on the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger) said, “It is very clear that accreditation and verification are to be done by the BVAS."
“We are not voting electronically for that real-time transmission to happen; transmission can only happen after it has been published on BVAS."
”So it is not real-time; we are not a court to interpret, but INEC has a responsibility to stick to guidelines."
“It is a simple process, and that process, after publishing, sends it to back-end servers, and it is after that that INEC can put it on IREV (the INEC election result portal)."
“INEC has been attacked over 160 times, and nobody has made any issue about that.”
Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti) urged INEC to do the right thing based on the Electoral Act.
He urged Nigerians to be patient for INEC to complete the process while calling on the judiciary to do the right thing too.
He said the judiciary should not allow itself to be dragged into interfering with the elections without passing through the proper process.
However, Senator Betty Apiafi (PDP-Rivers) said it was wrong to bring up the issues, given the mood of the nation.
Senator Orker-Jev (PDP-Benue) called for the stand-down of the motion, given the controversy surrounding it and the mood of Nigerians.
Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC-Bauchi) urged the Senate to steer clear of the issues due to the perceived controversy over the results.
“Whatever happens in the collection center and in the social media, the Senate should not be involved in it."
“We passed the Electoral Act, and for goodness sake, if we don’t step this motion down, there will be endless controversy on party lines, and God knows what it will generate in the public domain.”
Deputy minority leader, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said: “I think we have exhaustively looked at the issues concerned here." As a parliament, it is our duty to stabilize the polity and calm the nerves of people who are agitated as a result of the election on February 25.
“We are here to appeal to our people to follow the law, and we are asking all the agencies of government to follow what the law stipulates.”
“This is a very controversial matter; everywhere is tensed up, and people are very apprehensive."
Senator Uche Ekwunife said the only way out was for INEC to stick to the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“INEC should stick to their guidelines; that is the only solution,” she said.
Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti) said: “This process is still ongoing, and INEC should follow its own guidelines and the electoral law."
“We should not ignite violence, and the best way is to ask everybody to maintain peace and order while we go through this process and finish it properly.”
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks, said what was passed in the law was the snapping of election results and their transfer to the server.
Lawan said, “In the Electoral Act that we passed, there is nothing like the electoral transmission." What we have passed is to transfer after all the paper works that we normally do while the agents and everybody there have the papers.
“INEC will now scan or snap the result sheets and transfer them. We urge INEC to follow the Electoral Act and other laws on their guidelines.”
Lawan further added, “In this chamber, we are not going to interpret the electoral act; this is not a court of law."
“We are just here to guide this debate and talk about the general principles of how this election and declaration should be done; there is no need to stress ourselves."
“What we are doing is urging INEC to follow the law and the citizens to calm down.”