The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, says the House would take action on the Electoral Offences Act before the culmination of the 9th House of Representatives.
Gbajabiamila made the remark while welcoming the members back from the Governorship election recess.
According to him, the Act is necessary to ensure effective enforcement against individuals and organisations whose violations of the nation’s electoral laws undermine the constitution and threaten Nigeria’s democracy.
Mr Gbajabiamila said that a system of vigorous prosecution and punishment of electoral offenders would serve as a deterrent to others in the future and help build confidence in the country’s elections.
The speaker noted that any objective assessment of the recent elections would show marked improvements from prior outings.
“This is not to suggest perfection but to acknowledge evident progress in our collective efforts to ensure have elections we can all be proud of. The amendments to the Electoral Act by the 9th National Assembly have been particularly instrumental in improving the elections process through the use of technology to facilitate voter accreditation and transmission of results,” Gbajabiamila said.
He commended all the major stakeholders that worked towards the success of the just concluded elections in Nigeria.
The Speaker said; ” I wish to thank the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and all the staff of the Commission for their hard work and commitment to ensuring free and fair elections across the country.
”I wish to also express my gratitude to the men and women of the security agencies who ensured the worst predictions of crises and conflict did not come to pass. Any objective assessment of these elections will show marked improvements from prior outings. This is not to suggest perfection but to acknowledge evident progress in our collective efforts to ensure elections we can all be proud of.”
Gbajabiamila said that whilst the amendments represent a significant step forward for Nigeria, the work is not yet done because nation-building is a continuum.
“Each new generation must build on the efforts of the past until, by our common endeavour, we achieve a just, peaceful, and prosperous society. We fell short this time in our commitment to ensuring political empowerment and representation for women and other marginalised groups in our country. In the time we have left, we will work to understand why, as a first step towards ensuring the success of subsequent efforts,” the speaker said.
He also said that ”Nation-building is also a joint effort; every significant advancement is the product of collaborative efforts by numerous people acting in different capacities. ”
The Speaker said that the Amendments to Nigeria’s electoral laws by the legislature, pronouncements by the judiciary and operational reforms by the electoral commission have significantly improved elections in Nigeria since 1999.
He however enjoined INEC to collaborate with stakeholders to conduct a meticulous assessment of the election process.
“Now, our national priorities must return to the issues of governance, ensuring that the institutions of government work towards the ends of development, national security and the welfare of the Nigerian people. As representatives of the people, this is our highest obligation; it is a duty that persists so long as we hold office in the government of our republic. I am confident that all of us in the 9th House of Representatives recognise this and will continue to act accordingly as we have always done,”Gbajabiamila added.