By Adesuwa Tsan, Abdulsalam Badamasi on July 25, 2013
Voting on the report of the adhoc House of Representatives Committee on Amendment of the 1999 Constitution commenced last night, with the removal of immunity clause for president, governors and their deputies
The lawmakers also okay local government autonomy and relocation of labour exclusive to concurrent list scaling through.
For over 12 hours, members of the House of Representatives voted and waited for the results of the 87 -clause amendment.
All amendments were approved by the House. These include the removal of immunity for presidents, vice, governors, deputy; abrogation of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), as INEC will now conduct local government elections; Independent candidature approval; and states can now generate and distribute electricity.
Speaker of the House, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, while thanking all stakeholders, assured Nigerians that the exercise is ongoing and will continue after the recess for items not deliberated during the voting.
According to sources who saw the available results, these two amendments were ready and had got the mandatory two-thirds majority votes of members of the House.
The slow pace of the exercise is due to the manual method of voting adopted by the House after several attempts to use the electronic option failed.
The plan to vote electronically using computer palm tablets procured and mounted by NIGCOMSAT was ditched for manual voting after engineers of the NIGCOMSAT tried fruitlessly to make the system work.
Accreditation of members in attendance started at about 1pm untill two-thirds majority quorum needed for voting to commence was formed with 282 members present.
The manual voting commenced after copies of the ballot booklets were distributed to representatives of state caucuses to share among members of their states where the options of yes and no were provided beside the clauses for amendment.
Curiously, members of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) led by the minority leader, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, were huddled together at the far end back row of the Green Chamber during the clause-by-clause voting that lasted close to an hour.
Afterwards, the ballot papers were gathered back and submitted by each state caucus leader to the House clerk whose staff immediately commenced the collation process as members waited patiently.