Reps mull e-parliament as NASS resumes plenary next week ― Gbajabiamila

As the National Assembly, NASS, resume plenary at the both Chambers next week Tuesday, the House of Representatives, has installed an electronic system for all of its proceedings in line with its legislative agenda.

The Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila in the company of some lawnmowers and the Clerk of the House of Representatives Mr P W Giwa inspected the newly renovated Chamber with newly installed electric gadgets and expressed satisfaction saying that this was in line with the 9th House of Representatives Legislative agenda.

He said that with this development the House would discard voice voting and drop its reference to hard copies of instruments of legislation.

Rep. Gbajabiamila, who assured that the e-parliament promised by the 9th House on its inauguration in June last year would commence on resumption from annual vacation, expressed satisfaction that it was a promised fulfilled.

He regretted that over time, legislative activities were often hindered by obsolete public address system.

While noting that the new system would enhance the capacity and capability of lawmakers in carrying out their constitutional duties on the floor, Gbajabiamila emphasized that the successful execution of the project was only possible through sheer persistence, hard work and total commitment.

According to him, “this is one of the things we promised to do in the 9th Assembly. I’m glad we’ve been able to deliver that within a year, this is not commissioning, this is an inspection, but I believe in the next 24 to 48 hours, everything would be up and running.

“So far so good, we are very excited, very happy that we’ve gone this far, the system was put together by the leadership and the House through a lot of efforts with well-meaning Nigerians and corporate bodies, particularly a gentleman who took this as part of his Corporate Social Responsibility, Wale Ajisebutu of 21st Century Technologies.

“We are happy, you find this anywhere in the world, in the most advanced democracies, we promised e-voting, seamless, the chamber is now more or less paperless, all the documents you need for legislative business are uploaded, we have the Constitution, House Rules, Code of Conduct, Legislative Agenda, Order Papers on daily basis, Motions, everything is uploaded for the benefit of all members to follow discussions.

“The system is very advanced, it has the capacity for members to research on the spot, on the floor. If there’s an issue that comes up on the floor, there’s a search engine that is dedicated only for that purpose and you can quickly research for whatever information or reference that you were trying to research on.

“This also is connected to our registration process, so, we have e-attendance. Rather than signing in manually, now, you can use your thumb and your bio is captured and your attendance is captured when you come in.”

On the audio, Rep. Gbajabiamila said each system on each seat has its speaker, that would be deactivated to enable a louder and sharper sound system that has been connected to the surround system.

According to him, “this has the capacity for members to bring in and use their own earplugs, just like we see in most legislative houses.

“Another feature is when we have foreign guests, who do not speak English, our lingua franca, we have the capacity on each unit to plugin and it will translate automatically to whatever language the foreign guest speaks so that he can follow discussions on the floor.

“We are excited that we have this going on, we’ve been able to tick that box, it is one of the promises and one of the things we were determined to do and we’ve been able to do.”

Speaking with newsmen after the inspection of the Chamber, the Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, disclosed that the by the installation of the equipment, House had fulfilled a major promise to the Nigerian public.

According to him, “we have fulfilled one of the key items on our Legislative Agenda, which is the e-parliament, the device, will drastically cut the cost of legislation in the House.

“A lot of money will be reduced from the non-usage of paper, the device will be fully effective on resumption, and will also be formally commissioned soon, by the leadership of the House.

The lawmaker who disclosed that the e-parliament was installed cost-free, assured that it would also be maintained without cost to the public treasury.

He added that members of the House would soon undergo training on the proper usage and adaptation to the system.

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