THE National Assembly has directed its clerk, Sani Tambuwal, to urgently transmit the 35 bills that have so far met the requirement of the provision of Section 9(2) of the Constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, in line with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act.
Of the proposed 44 amendments forwarded to State Houses of Assembly for concurrence in March 2022 by the National Assembly, only 35 were transmitted back to NASS by 27 of the 36 states, with that on local government autonomy conspicuously missing, meaning governors had their way in killing the amendment.
Twenty-seven State Houses of Assembly, however, forwarded their resolutions on 35 constitution amendment bills to the National Assembly, with nine states abstaining.
The State Houses of Assembly yet to forward their resolutions to the National Assembly include Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.
The National Assembly has also asked the remaining nine state Houses of Assembly to forward their resolutions on the constitution amendment bills to fulfil their constitutionally imposed legislative obligation.
Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a motion, titled ” Passage of Constitution( Fifth) Alteration Bill’s, 2023,” sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, APC, Delta Central and supported by 65 other senators.
The motion was presented yesterday at the Chamber by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central, on behalf of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who, as Deputy President of the Senate, chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
Recall that the National Assembly had through its Senator Omo- Agege led joint Ad – hoc Committee on Constitution Review in October last year, lampooned state governors for not allowing their State Houses of Assembly to concur with the constitution amendments proposals for financials and administrative autonomies of the 774 local government councils in the country.
The committee had threatened the governors that it would mobilise the organised labour, particularly local government employees, against them for the required concurrence.
The directive that the CNA should forward the bill to President Buhari for assent is coming three months after the threat.
Some of the nine bills that failed passage in State Houses of Assembly include the one that sought abrogation of the State Joint Local Government Account and Provide for special account into which shall be paid all allocations due to local government councils from the federation account and from the government of the state; and for related matters; that sought the establishment of local government as a tier of government by guaranteeing their democratic existence, tenure; and for related matters.
Also included is the amendment that sought institutionalization of legislative bureaucracy in the constitution; and for related matters as well as the one that sought inclusion of presiding officers of the National Assembly in the membership of the National Security Council; and for related matters, among others.
According to Senator Bamidele, the 35 items listed on the order paper were: Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 3 (Change of Names of Afikpo North and Afikpo South LocalGovernment Areas (Ebonyi State), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 4 (Change of Name of Kunchi Local Government Area (Kano State); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 5 (Change of Names of Egbado North and Egbado South Local Government Areas (Ogun State) and Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 7 (Correction of the name of Atigbo Local Government Area (Oyo State).
Others are: Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 8 (Correction of Name of Obia/Akpor Local Government Area (Rivers State);
Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 9 (Financial autonomy of State legislatures and State Judiciary); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 10 (Enforcement of Legislative Summon); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 11 (Inauguration of Members-Elect), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 21 (Deletion of reference in the Constitution to the provisions of the Criminal Code, Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Act, Criminal Procedure Code or Evidence Act), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 22 (Provision for Intervening Events in the Computation of Tine for the Determination of Pre-Election Petitions, Election Petitions and Appeals therefrom).
Others were : Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 24 (Expansion of the Interpretation of Judicial Office); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 25 (Appointment of Secretary of the National Judicial Council);
Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 29 (Devolution of Powers (Airports)); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 30 (Devolution of Powers (Fingerprints, identification and criminal records).
Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 31 (Devolution of Powers (Correctional Services), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 32 (Devolution of Powers (Railways), Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 33 (Devolution of Powers (National Grid System); Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 39 (Power to enforce compliance of remittance of Accruals into the Federation Account and Review of Revenue Allocation Formula) and Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No. 40 (Independence of Certain bodies).