In our previous exposition on ‘Quorum in the House of Representatives,’ we noted that where a quorum appears not constituted in the Chamber, the Speaker’s attention is drawn and he/she shall cause members to be summoned as if for a division.
According to the House Rules, this is also applicable if, from the number of members participating in a division (including those members who declined to vote), a quorum appears not constituted.
This week’s episode of #MondayMeme is an exposition on the subject of ‘Division in the House and Committee of the Whole’ in the Nigerian House of Representatives.
If the opinion of the Speaker on the decision of a question is challenged, he/she shall direct the lobbies to be cleared and while the doors to the Chamber shall be locked for a division to be taken.
The same is applicable in a Committee of the Whole House, where the Speaker is Chairman.
After the lapse of two minutes from the direction to clear the lobbies, the Speaker or the Chairman shall put the question a second time.
Where his/her opinion is again challenged, he/she shall read aloud the names of the two tellers from each side which have been given to him by a representative of the members desiring to vote Aye and Nay respectively.
The Speaker shall thereafter direct the Ayes into the lobby on his right and the Nays into the lobby on his left. As soon thereafter, one teller from each side arrives at the Table, count shall be taken.
Where less than two tellers are appointed by one side, the Speaker or the Chairman shall state that fact and declare the question in favour of that side which has appointed two tellers.
At the expiration of two minutes from the appointment of tellers, the Speaker or the Chairman shall direct the doors giving access to the Chambers be locked.
The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for making arrangements for the locking and unlocking of the doors.
Once the direction to clear the lobbies is clear, a ‘Division Clerk’ appointed by the Clerk of the House takes up the position on each side of the Chambers to record the names of all members voting on that side.
This is done before the names of the tellers have been read from the Chair.
In a division, no member is obliged to vote. A member may vote however, even if/she did not hear the question put.
A member shall vote according to (a) his voice, or (b) signing of register in a division or through electronic voting installed in the House.
Where a member states that he/she voted in error or that his/her vote was counted wrongly, he/she may claim to have the vote altered.
Such request has to be made as soon as the Speaker or the Chairman (in the case of a Committee of the Whole House) has announced the numbers before the result of the division is declared.
Monday Meme is a public service programme by OrderPaper Nigeria designed to break down the esoteric terminologies of the legislature and how the institution of parliament generally functions.