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Reps Warn Military Against Coup, Considers Electronic Voting, Diaspora Participation In Elections



Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun yesterday warned against military Coup d’état  as he said the system  was no longer fashionable in governance.‎
Lasun stated this at one day public hearing on the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
He noted that it was unthinkable for some military personnel to mull the idea of a  military intervention after 18 years of democratic rule.
‎According to him, concerns raised by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai that some politicians were talking with military officers for political reasons should not be underrated.
“It might be trivial or right. But what we have heard in the last two weeks,  not because of the position we occupy,  but because of the level we are in Nigeria’s today.  Having practised democracy for 18 years unbroken,  I wouldn’t know why some military people want to think that it is time again to come back to the governance of Nigeria, it is going to be a little bit difficult.Democracy at its worst is still the best form of government,” Lasun stated.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara at the public hearing said Nigerians in the diaspora may be able to vote in the next general election.
He also stated that the House was still considering the bill which seek to introduce electronic voting into Nigeria’s electioneering process.
Dogara noted that the gathering of civil society and political parties representatives and delegates from agencies such as INEC would examine the feasibly of the new system.
According to him, the proposed amendments are a direct result of occurrences during the 2015 election cycle and other circumstances in which the existing legislation proved inadequate to handle the situation, such as the last gubernatorial election in Kogi state, where the leading candidate died after voting had commenced, but before results were announced.
The committee, headed by Hon. Aishatu Jibril Dukku, is charged with the mandate of examining 12 Bills proposing amendments to the extant Electoral Act  2010 including a bill seeking to introduce electronic voting in Nigeria.
“The issue of legal framework for electronic accreditation, Card Reader; Electronic Voting and announcement of Election Results; the place of INEC Guidelines/ Regulations vis a vis the Procedure for elections contained in the Electoral Act itself, Diaspora Voting, the role of Political Parties in the nomination process, etc. are some of the matters that should be settled in time before the 2019 General Elections”, Dogara said.
“The twelve Bills before us this morning, seeking to amend the Electoral Act are a consequence of our election experiences as a nation including the 2015 General Elections. Experience has shown that good electoral system governed by an efficient and effective legal framework is an inescapable prerequisite for the conduct of free, fair and credible election, enthronement of good governance which will ensure peace and stability in the polity. Conversely, it is a globally established fact that a flawed electoral system is a huge threat to any democracy and can constitute an invitation to anarchy.”
“While we continue to acknowledge the reasonable improvements recorded during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria where the ruling political party lost the elections and accepted the outcome of the process, we cannot pretend that the election was without flaws some of which bordered on lacunae in the legal framework. The case in Kogi State governorship election in which a candidate died after the ballot but before the declaration of results present a classical example of such limitations in the Electoral Act, among others, that require reform in the law.”
 He further urged the committee on constitution review to conclude alterations concerning the Electoral Act before the next election cycle.
 “This Public Hearing is therefore of critical importance in settling these questions. Permit me to use this opportunity also to implore the Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review to also be guided by the need to conclude all Constitutional amendments or alterations relating to electoral matters early enough in order to give the Election Management Body, INEC, enough time to plan the 2019 General Elections,” he stated.
 Adebiyi Oluwatayo Adedapo
Leadership Newspaper, Abuja, Nigeria.
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