Nigerian reps ready for e-parliament

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The House of Representatives is set for electronic conduct of its legislative activities on the floor of the chamber when it reconvene on Tuesday, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said on Friday.

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 promise fulfilled.

While on an inspection of the newly installed digital system accompanied by journalists, the Speaker regretted that over time, legislative activities were often hindered by obsolete public address system.

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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.

He said: “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 system of the new platform, 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.

“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 plug in 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,” Gbajabiamila noted.

The Speaker was accompanied by the Deputy House Leader, Peter Akpatason, Spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu, Chairman Committee on House Services, Wale Raji and a host of other lawmakers.

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