Faulty sound system, Reps plenary adjournment and slap on Nigerian democracy

By Sunday Elom

I sincerely sympathize with the House of Representatives on the present unfortunate situation of its sound system that has helplessly deterred three consecutive plenaries. It is a pity. Please do accept my sympathy.

But wait a minute. How does it sound that a simple breakdown of microphones in some rows as stated by the Honourable Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, paralyzes plenary in the lower chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly for three consecutive times? To an extent it sounds funny, but it is deeply embarrassing to Nigeria as a highly esteemed African country (Giant of Africa) in all ramifications.

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One can easily put a defense that it is a technical problem that requires either electronic or engineering experts; but such defense can only deepen and widen the embarrassment; because it will be a further confirmation of the high level of Nigeria’s technological naivety.

The fact that the Honourable Speaker emphatically said that the manufacturers of the microphones must be contacted before it can be fixed is an absolute showdown. The Hon. Speaker’s point therefore elicits certain questions.

First, why is it that since the installation of these microphones in 1999 according to the Hon. Speaker, no local electronic engineer or technician has been trained on the maintenance and repairing of the system, in case of eventuality? Second, what has been the maintenance budgetary allocation for the system since its installation?

One can easily put a defense that it is a technical problem that requires either electronic or engineering experts; but such defense can only deepen and widen the embarrassment; because it will be a further confirmation of the high level of Nigeria’s technological naïve.

The speaker of the House admitted that they would definitely be criticized, but the effects of the faulty microphones are beyond mere criticism by the concerned citizens. The faulty microphones practically led to the unduly adjournment of the House plenary three times, thereby hindering debate on at least three bills/motions, leading to unintended and unhealthy delay.

Furthermore, watching the Hon. Members of the House, including the Clerk, jump from one seat/row to the other in search of a functional microphone, by international communities is a serious shameful slap on Nigerians, especially those in diaspora.

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To avoid the repetition of the same embarrassment, the Hon. House of Representatives should involve professional electronic engineers and technicians who would not only maintain the system but capable of identifying its minor faults before total breakdown. Secondly, there must be a reasonable number of standby microphones to periodically replace the weak or malfunctioning ones.

Furthermore, watching the Hon. Members of the House, including the Clerk, jump from one seat/row to the other in search of a functional microphone, by international communities is a serious shameful slap on Nigerians, especially those in diaspora.

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