Laughter as electronic voting process embarrasses senators

BY Dyepkazah Shibayan


Some senators had a tough time grasping the techniques of electronic voting used during the consideration of amendments to the 1999 constitution.

The committee on the review of the constitution led by Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, had laid the report on Tuesday and the senate commenced debate on it by Wednesday.

Out of 109 lawmakers, only 95 were present to vote.

As against the traditional voice voting, the lawmakers used the electronic voting method to approve or reject the amendments, which were broken down into 32 bills.


Even after Senate President Bukola Saraki spent 25 minutes putting his colleagues through, some senators still found it difficult to use the device, leading to a delay in the process.

“For every single bill, the first thing to do is to register before voting,” the senate president said.

But after slotting in their cards, some of the senators failed to register before voting and this disrupted the process.


When it appeared as if the senate president got fed up with teaching adults, he started calling out the names of the lawmakers who appeared not to understand the process.

At the mention of a lawmaker’s name, the chamber would erupt in laughter.

Some of the senators mentioned by Saraki were Stella Oduah, senator representing Anambra north; Atai Usman, representative of Kogi central and Ibrahim Abdullahi, from Sokoto south.

The senators managed to use the electronic voting until the end but not without Saraki’s guidance.


Although electronic voting is in the 8th assembly’s legislative agenda, it has only been used once. That was during the confirmation of Ejembi Eko (Benue) and Amina Augie (Kebbi) – both nominees for justices of the supreme court.

The house of representatives is expected to use electronic voting on the constitution amendment on Thursday, and that would be the first time of it being used since it was inaugurated in 2015.

More drama is likely to unfold at the lower legislative chamber.

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