…as voting device experiences tech hitches
By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja
Following technical hitches encountered by the e-voting system, the House of Representatives yesterday deferred voting on the report of the National Assembly ad hoc committee on constitution review to today (Thursday) as 88 members of the 360 House were absent for the process.
This is just as the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara urged members to disregard a document detailing the items that should be voted for and against by the lawmakers.
The day which commenced with a mild drama following the entrance of the speaker, saw some lawmakers calling on their colleagues to remain seated as opposed to standing as the speaker walked in. Shortly after that, an executive session which lasted for more than an hour, was called.
However, upon resumption from the closed door session, the voting process was stalled as some lawmakers had difficulties registering and voting with their voting cards. The House had to resort to taking a head count to determine the number of members present and several trials before the system became functional and a pre-test was done.
Some lawmakers however, did not participate in the exercise for unknown reason which the printer revealed. The Speaker Dogara thereafter called out the names of members who were absent and those who were present but declined to register to vote. The electronic device recorded 272.
Meanwhile, while the problem was being rectified, Hon. Mohammed Gudaji Kazaure was observed circulating a document listed with the 27 items for voting with instructions on how to vote on each item.
The speaker whose attention was called to the document, cautioned members on the going by the document as he dissociated the House from the document.
He said: “Honorable members, my attention has been drawn to a paper being circulated on the floor of the House that members should vote yes or no. I want to inform all of you that we are responsible leaders here and all of us bear the weight of our constituencies. I want to encourage members to disregard what is being presented. This is not a document from us. So, nobody should be deceived that it emanates from the House.
“Unfortunately, this document does not bear anyone name but since it is being circulated by Gudaji, it is his document. It has no sanction or approval of anyone and the House. So, it is the opinion of only one man”.
The document asked members to reject nine of the twenty-seven items to be considered. They include: state creation and boundary adjustment, separation of the office of the attorney general and minister of justice; presidential assent; citizenship and indigeneship; over ridding presidential veto; removal of certain Acts from the constitution (NYSC, Land use Act, NSA) and reduction of the age for elections.
The voting exercise commences at 10 am Thursday (today).
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