E-transmition of election results: Group writes US, demands visa ban on 80 Senators

A pro-democracy group known as Democracy Vanguard of Nigeria in Diaspora (DVND) has written a letter to the United States of America through its Nigerian Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, asking for a Visa ban on all the senators who voted against the electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria.

The eighty Senators included 52 that voted against the bill and the 28 Senators that were absent at the red chamber on the voting day. 

The names of the said senators are attached to the letter.

In a statement released to newsmen Tuesday in Abuja by the DVND President, Timothy Sule, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari “to withhold assent on any electoral act bill that failed to incorporate electronic voting, order of elections to start with Governorship’s and State Assemblies and then Presidential and National Assemblies.”

Others copied in the letter dated 18th July, 2021, include: United States Secretary of State, Secretary Anthony J. Blinken, Acting Assistant Secretary Ambassador Robert F. Godec and Deputy Assistant Secretary Akunna E. Cook.

The statement explained that the national assembly in a bid to enact and amend the Electoral Act sought to alter clause 52(3) of the proposed Electoral Act to allow the Nigerian Communication’s Commission to approve that, there is a good network across the states for the adoption of electronic voting and transmission of election results.  

“This noble intention was vehemently and vigorously challenged by some legislators from a particular zone and political party. These unpatriotic elements eventually succeeded in throwing out such a noble intention into the abyss.   

According to the letter, the action is shameful, disdainful, and completely reprehensible. It smacks of a clear contempt for the Nigerian People.  

“We call on the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada, African Union and all ally countries to take urgent actions to nip this brewing conflagration in the bud before it consumes the nation and create a massive refugee crisis in the world.

“In the meantime, we have attached names of all those legislators who played one role or the other in the suppression and undermining democracy in Nigeria for a visa ban. Their family members shall not be spared of the impending visa ban as well. 

“In closing, we at Democracy Vanguard of Nigeria in Diaspora (DVND) are willing to be of assistance where applicable to help realize our request for the protection of democratic norms and the sanctity of all electoral processes in Nigeria.”

While condemning the development, the group said: “We condemn in strong terms those who are bent on seeing Nigeria on her kneels through the façade of an election process that is characterized by manipulations and mishandlings by those who should be the true custodians of the process.  

“We would like to commend the very few progressive opposition legislators in the Senate and the House of Representatives as led by Senator Ehinanya Abaribe and Ndidi Elumelu respectively who stood for Nigeria when the occasion demanded.  

“Those who exempted themselves from the chambers without a valid reason are equally reprimanded and condemned.  Those who were conspicuously absent are no better than those who shot the amendment down with their selfish and insensitive agenda. Nigerians now know the true enemies of your great country and at the appropriate time, they will receive in equal measures.”