Reps debate use of military for elections today

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The House of Representatives will on Tuesday (today) re-visit the plan to involve the military in the general elections, rescheduled for March 28 and April 11.

The official notice of the House for the week, which The PUNCH obtained in Abuja on Monday, showed that the use of the military in election monitoring would be one of the key motions to be debated by the lawmakers on Tuesday (today).

The motion entitled, “Unconstitutional Deployment of Military Personnel for Election Purposes,” is sponsored by the House Minority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila of the All Progressives Congress.

An attempt to debate the same motion on Thursday last week had seen the APC members of the House squaring up with their Peoples Democratic Party counterparts.

While the APC members backed the motion, the PDP opposed it.

One PDP member from Kogi State, Mr. Sunday Karimi, successfully led an opposition that stalled the motion last week.

Karimi had argued that the issue was the subject matter in a number of unresolved suits filed before some courts in the country.

The Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, in a bid to douse tension, had stopped the debate and referred the motion to the joint Committees on Rules/Business, Justice and Judiciary for advice.

Investigations by our correspondent indicated that the three chairmen of the committee- Messrs Albert Sam-Tsokwa, Aminu Shagari and Ali Ahmad- had already held a “preliminary” meeting on the referral and were set to conclude deliberations early on Tuesday (today) before the start of sitting by 11am.

Findings showed that the chairmen would likely advise the House to continue with Gbajabiamila’s motion.

One official said, “The meeting will likely support the House continuing with the debate.

“The court processes some members talked about were not served on the House. The whole of the matter will be resolved today.”

However, The PUNCH learnt that the motion would still cause tension in the House since most PDP members had been against it.

“Anyhow they want us to go about it, the issue of security during elections is very serious.

“We will need the military to assist the police and other regular law enforcement personnel,” one PDP member argued on Monday.

But, with a numerical strength of about 180 to PDP’s 161, a voice vote on the controversial matter might be won by the APC lawmakers.

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