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Lagos Assembly Backs Out of Constitutional Amendment

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Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday took a unanimous decision not to be part of the second alteration to the constitution amendment which other State Houses of Assembly claim they have supported. This decision was taken at the plenary session after the Majority Leader, Taiwo Kolawole, presented the report of a stakeholders meeting on the bill held earlier at the Assembly Lobby.

Kolawole while presenting the bill told his colleagues that some of those present at the meeting drew the attention of the House to the fact that the case is still pending at the Appeal Court.

He told them that the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, and a Lagos-based lawyer, Bamidele Aturu 'made us to understand that what the National Assembly has done concerning the amendment is illegal. They made us to understand that the case is still in Court and whatever is being done now is illegal.

'They also pointed to the fact that the first exercise was inconclusive as the assent of the President on it was generating controversy.

"The NBA specifically mentioned that the National Assembly is condoning illegality by not abiding by the judgement of the Federal High Court . And such may lead to anarchy', Kolawole said.

While reacting, Rotimi Olowo noted that there are three arms of government working inter-dependently. He added 'I don't want us to take the same position with the NASS. We should not deal with the constitution amendment because it is illegal.

"We should wait for the outcome of the Appeal Court'.

Rotimi Abiru noted that Aturu described the National Assembly's act as 'a cocktail of illegalities and an affront of the rule of law. He said 'in my opinion, we are under a democratic situation and the rule of law must prevail.

"We should get the court's decision before another amendment is done. Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji stated that since the President has not signed the bill 'and the NASS has gone to the Appellate Court, this implies that the issue should not be debated.

"The people of Lagos have spoken and they will not want their representatives to be part of illegalities.

'The first amendment would have seen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducting election in January. What INEC is doing now is illegal until the court rules finally whether the President should assent it or not and that will be the saving grace for future elections."

  The Speaker later threw it to a vote and 20 of the lawmakers supported that the House should back out of the amendment, none of them opposed and two abstained.

In its resolution, the House called on the President Goodluck Jonathan ; Senate President, David Mark; Speaker of the House of Reps, Dimeji Bankole ; Chief Justice of Federation, Bello Adoke and other interested parties to the matter to ensure that the controversy generated by the amended constitution as it concerns the assent of the President to quickly resolve it in order not to impediment on democracy.