The Nigerian House of Representatives is to give priority to strengthening the country’s electoral body to ensure credibility, fairness and free electoral process.
Delivering a speech to mark the resumption of the House from annual recess, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said the House would revisit the Electoral Act Amendment Bill vetoed by the President to complement the successes of the 2015 general elections.
He explained that the Electoral Act amendment Bill was designed to entrench the use of modern technology in the future elections.
The new Electoral Act amendment Bill has provisions that are designed to guarantee free, fair and transparent elections in Nigeria. The amendment Bill entrenches the Smart Card Reader and electronic transmission of results among others.
Any further attempt to frustrate the passing into law of the Bill, will be indicative of our desire not to improve on the successes of the 2015 general elections further fueling the fears that some, including our international partners, have about some forces who intend to manipulate the forthcoming elections by exploiting identified loopholes in the Electoral Act currently in force, the Speaker added.
The Speaker who condemned the August 8th invasion of the National Assembly, charged members to be steadfast in their fight to protect democracy reminding them that their loyalty must be in tandem with their oath of office to the nation and not to any individual or sectional cause or interest.
Mr. Dogara added:As patriots, we owe it a duty to patriotically support the patriotic even if they are our foes and to patriotically oppose or defeat the unpatriotic even if they are our best friends.
While congratulating members who won their primary elections, the Speaker wished those whose elections may still be in process, a favorable conclusion, and pledged assistance for others who are said to have lost their nominations in circumstances which remain contentious so that they get fair opportunities as they have all made tremendous sacrifices to the nation.
It is a pity that the 2018 primaries will throw up more pre-election cases than ever before witnessed in Nigeria due to display of impunity by parties in the conduct of primaries across board. He added.
Also, at the sitting the house pledged to initiate legislation to curtail the impunity and excesses of the country’s law enforcement agencies.
Source: Voice of Nigeria