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Senate fails to upturn Jonathan's veto on Constitution amendment

By The Rainbow
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   Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (l), with Senator Ayogu Eze at the Senate Chamber

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The senate on Tuesday failed to kick start      the process of overriding the veto of President Goodluck Jonathan on the 2015 constitution amendment bill.

The Senate had given indication it was going to commence the process of upturning the veto by President Goodluck Jonathan on the bill on Tuesday.

The bill which has been gazetted as the “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (fourth alteration) Bill 2015″ was slated to be read on the floor of the upper chamber  but Ike Ekweremadu  deputy senate president, who presided over the meeting stepped it down.

The needs presidential assent to become law. except if the Senate overrides such a veto by the president.

Besides, matters relating to it are in court, and because it requires other legislative treatment.

 Supreme Court had directed the national assembly to desist from taking further action on the 2015 constitution amendment bill. A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court had ruled‎ that the national assembly and the federal government maintain the status quo on the matter until June 18.

‎Jonathan had restrained assent to the amendments, citing 12 errors in the amendment bill.

In a suit SC/214/2015 filed at the supreme court by Mohammed Adoke, attorney general of the federation, the federal government argued that the bill was not passed by four-fifths of the two chambers of the national assembly as stipulated in sections 48 and 49 of the Nigerian constitution.

The 2015 constitution amendment bill  made provisions for independent candidature as well as the separation‎ of the office of the attorney-general of the federation from office of the minister of justic.

It was passed by the national assembly in February. The bill also had a provision which stripped the president of the powers to assent to constitution amendment bills‎.

But Jonathan in rejecting assent, wrote  a letter to David Mark‎, senate president, and Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of the house of representatives, in which he stated reasons foe his action.

He aid the bill   was against the provision of section 9(3) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Some of the inherent errors as outlined by the president are: Non-compliance with the threshold specified in Section 9(3) of the 1999 Constitution on amendments; Alteration to constitution cannot be valid with mere voice votes unless supported by the votes of not less than four-fifths majority all members of National Assembly and two-thirds of all the 36 State Houses of Assembly; Right to free basic education and primary and maternal care services imposed on private institutions Flagrant violation of the doctrine of separation of powers, Unjustified whittling down of the Executive powers of the Federation vested in the President by virtue of Section 5(1) of the 1999 Constitution; 30 days allowed for assent of the President; and Limiting expenditure in default of appropriation from 6months to three months The others are creation of the office of accountant-general of the federation distinct from the accountant general of the federal government Empowering National Economic Council to appoint the Accountant-General of the Federation instead of the President; Allowing NJC to now appoint the Attorney-General of the Federation rather than the President; Unwittingly whittling down the discretionary powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

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