SENATE PASSES STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BILL
BY HENRY UMORU & JOSEPH ERUNKE
ABUJA-Senate, Wednesday, passed the State of the Nation Address Bill. Named Bill for an Act to Enshrine an Annual State of the Nation Address and other Matters Connected Thereto 2013, it will henceforth make it mandatory for the President to appear before the joint session of the National Assembly, NASS, and give account of his stewardship on the first legislative day of July every year.
The bill was introduced about six years ago in the sixth Assembly of the Senate (2008) and a year later (2009) in the House of Representatives.
When signed into law by the President, the bill, besides making it mandatory for the President to address NASS, also gives the two chambers of the Assembly the right, through a two-thirds majority vote, to issue summons in an event the President fails, neglects, or refuses to render account of his stewardship within the time stipulated in Section 1 of the Act.
The passage followed a clause by clause consideration of the report of the Senator Dahiru Kuta-led Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs on the bill.
The Senate said the passage was in line with 'making the President accountable to the Nigerian people as represented by the National Assembly by rendering account for his stewardship to the nation.'
It was also aimed at allowing inputs from members of NASS towards good governance of the nation.
According to the Senators, not only the annual budgets that would bring the President to address the joint session of the legislature, but his yearly stewardship account.
The bill also provides that the resolution of NASS on the President's address would be communicated to the President within 60 days from date of his address.