By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO and Kauthar Anuma-Khaleel, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday warned the Armed Forces against the dangers of military coup d’état in the country, saying it was no longer fashionable in governance.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun, who stated this at a one day public hearing on the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) noted that it was unthinkable for some military persintervention 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.
He said, “It might be trivial or right. 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”.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara has 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 seeks 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 feasibility 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.
Speaking at the public hearing, Dogara said, “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.
“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.onnel to mull the idea of a military