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Bills assent: Reps seek to override Jonathan's veto power

By The Citizen
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The House of Representatives on Thursday sought to override President Jonathan's veto on bills passed by the 7th National Assembly.

The sponsor of the motion, Mr. Yakubu Dogara of Bauchi State said there were 36 bills that were yet to get the presidential assent.

Dogara pointed out that Section 58(I)(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), made it 'mandatory' for the President to do either of two things.

'He either assents to a bill passed by the National Assembly within 30 days or he shall communicate his decision to withhold his assent,' Dogara stated.

The lawmaker noted that in the case of the 36 bills, the President had not done either of the two requirements, stressing that since the days had lapsed, the only option left was to invoke Section 58(I)(5) to override his veto 'so that Nigerians can get the benefits of these bills.'

Section 58(I)(5) provides that if each chamber of the National Assembly passes a bill vetoed by the President, the President's assent will no longer be required for it to become law.

The motion generated tension on the floor between Mr. Simon Arabo (PDP, Kaduna); Mr. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers); Mr. Aminu Shagari (PDP, Sokoto); and Mr. Abubakar Momoh (APC, Edo) on whether overriding the President's veto could be done by a motion.

The Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, intervened, observing that the essence of the motion was to send the message that bills passed by the National Assembly were not being assented to by the President.

Tambuwal recalled that some of the bills were actually passed by the 6th Assembly and had to be re-introduced because there was no presidential assent.

He stated that the motion was a 'wake up call' to both the legislature and the President that both sides were not complying with constitutional provisions.

'It is a wake-up call to both sides. If there is anything we have not done on both sides, let us do it,' the Speaker said.