Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, on Thursday, reminded his distinguished colleagues that their deliberations on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill come at a very special moment in the nation’s history, one which would require them to do all in the best interest of Nigerians.
Addressing other legislators during a heated plenary on the electronic transmission of poll results, the House of Reps Speaker warned that whatever decision is taken must not be done out of selfish interest.
“The reason why I think we should get it right is that this is a moment in history and we should do whatever in our conscience that we believe is in the best interest of Nigeria,” the Speaker advised his colleagues.
While urging lawmakers to stop shouting each other down, Gbajabiamila stressed that no one can impose their own will over others, adding that the decision on the contentious bill must only be made when all democratic options have been explored.
A rowdy session
Prior to the Speaker’s address, the House of Reps seemed a place where cats and mice were at each other’s heels.
Things fell apart on Thursday after Deputy Speaker Idris Wase ruled against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding vote in favour of electronic transmission.
Plenary on Thursday continued its deliberations on the amendment of section 52(3) of the electoral act amendment bill, with Honourable Wase chairing the session instead of Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who is on the floor of the House.
The new amendment provides that INEC may consider electronic transmission so far the national network coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by Nigeria Communication Commission and approved by the National Assembly.
Having taken quite a while to deliberate on the matter, the lawmakers voted orally, and the Deputy Speaker clanged the gavel ruling against electronic transmission of results despite a resounding chorus in support of E-Transmission.
After a while calm was restored in the House and deliberations continued with some congressmen calling for a proper division on the matter.
Another round of votes was called for and again the Deputy Speaker, despite a resounding vote in favour of an amendment for manual and electronic transmission of results, ruled against ayes, sending the House into yet another frenzy.
This time it proved almost impossible for the House to be called to order, but decorum returned after a while.
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A motion to suspend consideration and revert to plenary was moved and seconded, but lawmakers voted against it, however, the house eventually reverted to plenary.
In reporting progress, the deputy speaker stated that the controversial clause 52 has been considered and approved but some lawmakers insisted that this is not the case; this leads to heated arguments with two lawmakers Ifeanyi Momah and Shehu Koko get involved in a heated exchange.
Another lawmaker Yusuf Gagdi went out of control and members took great effort to restrain him, forcing Speaker Gbajabiamila to take back his seat as chair of the House and moved that the session be adjourned.