No fewer than 70 out of 360 members were absent as the House of Representatives on Thursday voted on 30 alteration bills as part of the ongoing constitution review process of the National Assembly.
The 70 members absent, estimation shows, is about 19 per cent of the population of the House of Representatives.
This is as, for the first time in the House of Representatives, electronic voting platform was put to use.
It would be recalled that the Senate did a similar thing on Wednesday.
While addressing the House obviously over the absence of some of the members, the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, said “Any strategy to delay this process will only cast us as a House of the people in bad light.”
However, unlike the Senate yesterday, the House of Representatives voted in support of the 35 per cent Affirmative Action for Women as ministers as well as 20 per cent for women as commissioners in states.
Meanwhile, some alteration bills were rejected and they include the bill to change the name of some local councils in Ebonyi, Lagos, Ogun and Plateau states; the bill to separate the office of the Attorney General of Federation from the Minister of Justice; a bill mandating that a ministerial nominee must hail from the FCT as well as a bill to delete State Independent Electoral Commissions from the constitution.
In what was going to be just another day in office for most of the legislators, however, proceedings were disrupted by female lawmakers for over 30 minutes.
Their interest was the Citizenship and Indigeneship alteration bills which forced the Speaker to call for a retake of votes.
Calm was restored afterwards with not much of a difference made on the votes as 208 members voted in support of the bill as against 216 votes initially recorded.
The quietude was short-lived, although this time, for a bit of humour and solidarity as members chanted “Not too young to run” when votes on the bill to reduce age qualifications for elective positions were to be cast.
Another alteration bill rejected was the part bordering on the removal of law making power from executive arm as regards the land use act.
The bill had 148 votes against and 139 votes for.
Four members abstained from the voting.