OPINION: Electoral Act Amendment Bill, PDP Lawmakers’ Walkout Protest is Politically Suspicious

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Photo: Cross session of House of Representatives, culled from the Vanguard.


The House of Representatives, today, passed the new Electoral Act amendment Bill into third reading in the absent of the lawmakers elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). 

According to a news story published by the PREMIUM TIMES, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu was quoted to have insisted that “we cannot be part of that fake process where they’re depriving Nigerians of their right for their results to be counted accurately. Because e-transmission will guard against rigging and votes can count. But what they have done is to discountenance our agitations that let there be transparency in the next conduct of our elections.”

Hon. Ndudi Elumelu is the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Legislatively, there are laid down rules and regulations that determine how a motion could be processed before it could become a law. Law is not forced on anyone. It must be unanimously agreed upon by the 2/3rd majority or simple majority of the House after asset by the President.

Interestingly, members of the House of Representatives who were elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) have been part of the legislative businesses since the commencement of the Electoral Act amendment Bill. No member of the House has ever complained of being banned from participating in the sessions of the House when the Electoral Act amendment Bill is being discussed. It could be confusing to hear that, lawmakers elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) became angry with the position of the house on the Electoral Act amendment Bill.

It is important to note that the 360 members of the House of Representatives were elected to the House to present good representation of the interests of their various constituents. It is noteworthy that, at every seating, Nigerian House of Representatives is believed to represent about 360 interests with diversities. This is the reason the House base her decision system on either 2/3rd majority or simple majority. This voting system enhances the optimization of the decision taken by the House on any legislative business.

Considering the above fact, one may want to believe that lawmakers under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) had wanted to force the motion into law, without considering the interests of others but only their hidden interest. If the legislative business is to be allowed to continue this way, we may end up losing the dividends of democracy that we have gained since 1999.

Whenever the members of House of Representatives convene to make such crucial decision on the electoral future of the Federal republic of Nigeria, the members of the Houser are expected to regroup on the basis of their constitutional interests for the constituencies they are representing. They should not regroup on the interests of their political parties.

Convincingly, the walkout protest staged by the lawmakers elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) is politically suspicious. It is an indication that the interest of the lawmakers, who staged the walkout protest while passing the Electoral Act amendment Bill, is purely political. It could mean that they are only after the interest of their political party at whatever expense it may cost the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

 

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