The Deputy Senate President , Ike Ekweremadu , has flayed the Independent National Electoral Commission’ s decision to ban the use of smartphones inside polling cubicles , describing the move as unconstitutional and unacceptable .Senator Ekweremadu made his position known on Wednesday during a condolence visit to the Bayelsa State Governor , Seriake Dickson, at his country home in Toru – Orua, in the Sagbama Local Government Area of the state on the demise of his 72 – year – old mother, Mrs Goldcoast Dickson.
The Special Adviser to governor on Public Affairs , Mr Daniel Alabrah , quoted Ekweremadu as saying that the ban would go against provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, which gave room for freedom of communication , expression as well as freedom of the press .
Ekweremadu noted that Nigerians were free to express themselves through the media and free speech.
He said, “Nigeria must take full advantage of technology as it could not afford to lag behind , especially in the bid to ensure citizens’ participation through recording of results and the electoral processes .
“The international observers would need their smart phones and other media devices to record and send back information to their home countries . “ On the issue of INEC ’ s ban on smart phones at polling units, that is completely unconstitutional because we have provisions in the Constitution that make room for freedom of communication , expression and even freedom of the Press . That is what this ban is trying to abridge .
“Nigerians are free to express themselves through the media and free speech . I believe that in this age of technology , we cannot be going backwards. So we need to take full advantage of the accomplishments of technology in our life . ”
He added , “We are amending the Electoral Act to make provision for the announcement of results at polling booths and if our people are unable to communicate , it makes no sense at all. We are hoping that we can accomplish a free , fair and credible election by the use of technology . ”
Ekweremadu , who said he also brought a message of condolence from the President -General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo , on behalf of the Igbo nation, commended Governor Dickson for his exceptional developmental strides in Bayelsa .
He described the passing of Mrs Goldcoast Dickson as shocking and painful but urged the governor to be consoled by the fact that his mother lived a fulfilled life and never lacked care from her children .
In his remarks , Dickson said his mother’ s death was as a result of cancer and the family had become crusaders against the scourge. He solicited the support and collaboration of the deputy Senate President on the establishment of a foundation that would run and fund a cancer centre in memory of his mother.
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