On its resumption of plenary on Tuesday, Nigeria’s House of Representatives will be switching to electronic conduct of its legislative activities on the floor of the chamber.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has inspected the newly installed digital system ahead of the resumption of members from the extended annual recess.
It is not clear whether the Senate will also be switching over to digital system. MediaDimensions could also not immediately confirm whether installation of the digital system was responsible for the 2-week extension of the National Assembly recess from September 15 to September 29.
The cost of the project has not been stated with the House leadership explaining that it was undertaken by a yet to be identified private company as part of its corporate social responsibility.
There are electronic systems installed in the two chambers of the National Assembly but Gbajabiamila says they are the “most obsolete system for any legislative house, to the extent that the spare parts are not even available for sale anymore”.
The House and the Senate have before now used systems for electronic voting in the last amendment of the country’s constitution. Legislative activities in the National Assembly are usually carried out through voice vote between the “aye” and the “nay”.
The new project is a major achievement for Gbajabiamila who in his maiden address after his election as Speaker on June 11, 2019 promised to implement reforms in the conduct of legislative business.
It is expected that the House members will now vote electronically for each motion and bill. This will give their constituents the opportunity to hold them accountable for each vote they make especially on controversial issues.
Several civil society groups have over the years put pressure on members of the National Assembly to be transparent in their legislative activities.
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