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Senate Passes Harmonized Version Of Constitution

Source: EBUBECHI EMMANUEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: LEADERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY; SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK (R) AND SPEAKER DIMEJI BANKOLE. IMAGE: GBOLAHAN ADAMS.
PHOTO: LEADERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY; SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK (R) AND SPEAKER DIMEJI BANKOLE. IMAGE: GBOLAHAN ADAMS.
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ABUJA, June 02, (THEWILL) - The Senate on Wednesday passed the harmonized draft copy of the amended 1999 Constitution with the House of Representatives yielding to the Senate on some areas of differences in the initial versions passed by both houses.
The upper house also resolved to fast track the transmission of the draft constitution to the State Houses of Assembly for endorsement.

All 85 senators at plenary voted in favour of the harmonized version which was presented by the Joint Conference Committee of the Senate which arrived at the harmonization with the committee of the House last week.

Already the National Assembly has opened discussions with the states to ensure speedy endorsement of the reviewed Constitution.

24 out of the 36 states of the federation are expected to vote in favour of the bill before it can pass.

A look at the harmonized bill shows that the two chambers have agreed to delete section 68 of the original constitution to pave way for cross carpeting of elected officers from one party on which platform they were elected to another while retaining their positions.

The two chambers also agreed on the removal of sections in the 1999 Constitution which provides for the disqualification of candidates for election with indictment by a judicial panel of inquiry set up by either federal or state Executive.

The two chambers also agreed on the academic qualification for election into the National Assembly lifting the bar from the existing school certificate to tertiary qualification.

Other key provisions in the reviewed constitution include the inclusion of independent candidates in election as against the original provisions, which allows only candidates sponsored by political parties to contest election.

The reviewed constitution also provides for the operational independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by including its funding in the first line charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.