Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of House of Representatives says that electronic voting (e-voting) was adopted in the conduct of activities of the the lower house of Nigeria’s bicameral National Assembly to deepen democratic process.
The adoption of e-voting was announced in statement by Turaki Hassan, Special Adviser to the Speaker on media and public affairs, said to be in compliance with the 8th Assembly’s legislative agenda.
Forms have been distributed to all the 360 members of the House of Representatives to collate their data ahead of production of the e-voting cards, the Speaker says.
The implication of the new e-voting system is that records of each member’s punctuality and voting patterns would easily be accessed by his or her constituents and members of the public, according to Doagara.
He says that details of the legislative agenda as adopted by the 8th Assembly early last year, showed that “the 8th House commits to the use of ICT in the daily conduct of legislative activities of the House. E-parliament and e-voting platforms will be made a regular feature of the House.”
According to Dogara, “e-voting will be used regularly during voting to properly reflect voting records of members and parliamentary accountability. The House shall collaborate with relevant stakeholders to achieve the goal of an e-parliament.”
He says that the e-parliament initiative would operate on the platform of modern, up-to-date digital technology.
The statement further said Internet and intranet access supported by computerised legislative information management system would be put in place to drive the process.
Other initiatives that would be introduced include the establishment and equipping of a Parliamentary Information Centre where information and documents of the National Assembly would be made available.
Dogara says that by using technology to drive the democratic process, this would further increase citizens’ access to the legislature and solve the problem of public access to authentic documents of parliament.