Constitution Amendment: Reps Delete Immunity For President, Governors

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… Endorse LG Autonomy, Life Pension, Independent Candidacy,

… Abrogates SIEC's

ABUJA, July 24, (THEWILL) – Against all expectations, the House of Representatives Wednesday voted manually instead of electronically as earlier promised in the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, as the electronic voting devices installed by the Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) collapsed and could not function just before the vote.

339 out of the 360 members participated under the guidance of the Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.

Tambuwal had on Tuesday after an executive session, announced that members would vote electronically and enjoined all lawmakers to fully charge their Ipads ahead of the clause-by-clause vote. The director general of NIGCOMSAT, Engr. Ahmed Rufai was also on hand to brief the House on the electronic software.

Highlights of the voting showed that members voted overwhelmingly for local government autonomy with 293 voting for while 39 against and 7 abstained.

They also voted 306 against 17 to remove immunity for the president and 294 for and 24 against for governors while 14 and 11 abstained respectively.

The House also approved independent candidacy by 307 to 21 votes with 10 abstaining.

The voting, collation and announcement of the result was witnessed by the trade unions, civil society groups and Nigerians from different walks of life.

But disappointment emerged as soon as the House resumed plenary at about 11am and Speaker Tambuwal invited the NIGCOMSAT team, led by the DG to conduct accreditation of all the members present.

When the system continued to malfunction for almost three hours members and Nigerians from different walks of life including civil society groups became restive.

This development compelled Speaker Tambuwal to invite the DG who informed that he had devised another method of accreditation according to seats columns, but that too failed.

Attempts to desperately get it to function for about two hours were unsuccessful and the dream of voting electronically was defeated.