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No More Joint Accounts For States And Local Governments – Senate Moves

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BEVERLY HILLS, December 08, (THEWILL) – The Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution has moved to abolish the system of joint account by States and Local Governments in order to insulate local governments from undue and counter-productive interferences from state governments.

The review would become law when it is accepted by the House of Representatives and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The abolition of the joint account was presented to the Senate on Thursday by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who revealed that the Senate constitution committee has adopted the recommendation to create a mayoral seat for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

On local government administration, Ekweremadu said that Section 7 of the Constitution was amended essentially to strengthen local government administration in Nigeria by elaborately providing a uniform 3-year tenure for elected local government council officials with a mandate that Local Governments without a democratically elected council shall not be entitled to any revenue from the Federation Account.

Ekweremadu revealed that Section 162 of the Constitution was amended to make provision for national savings of 50% of oil revenues above the bench mark for a particular year and 10% of any non-oil revenue to be paid into the Federation Account.

Ekweremadu also disclosed that Sections 82 and 122 of the Constitution were amended to reduce the period within which the President or a Governor may authorize the withdrawal of monies from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the absence of an appropriation act from six months to three months.

On political parties and electoral matters, Sections 134 (4) & (5), 179 (4) & (5) and 225 were amended in order to extend the time for conducting presidential and Governorship re-run elections where no clear winner has emerged from seven to 21 days to give Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) sufficient time to plan, considering the logistics that is required such as printing and transporting new ballot papers for the elections.

The new las also empowers INEC to de-register political parties for non-fulfilment of certain conditions such as breach of registration requirements and failure to secure/win either a presidential, governorship, Local Government chairmanship or a seat in the National or State Assembly elections.

On nomination of ministers and commissioners, he said that Sections 147 and 192 of the Constitution were amended to ensure that the President and Governors designate and assign portfolios to persons nominated as ministers or commissioners respectively prior to confirmation by the Senate or State House of Assembly with 35% representation for women in the appointment of ministers and commissioners.

Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, asked the committee, which was inaugurated on 13th January, 2016, to work to beat the January 2017 deadline slated for the passage of the Bill.

Story by Oputah David