President Jonathan assents to amended constitution; promises more amendments
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan today made history by giving assent to the first and second amendments (2010) of the 1999 Constitution, with a promise to turn in more executive bills for amendments of other contentious sections of the constitution when “by the grace of God” his administration resumes with a fresh mandate later in the year.
After a brief signing ceremony witnessed by Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President, Senator David Mark, House of Reps Speaker, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoki, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, and other presidential aides, President Jonathan described the occasion as unique in the history of the nation's democratic experience.
President Jonathan thanked the leadership and members of the National Assembly as well as members of the executive arm of government both at the federal and state levels for working hard to conclude this phase of constitutional amendment, describing the feat as a demonstration of harmonious relationship between the executive and legislature towards improving the laws of the nation and the lives of the citizenry.
“Today is a unique day in the history of our country. For the National Assembly to successfully amend the constitution means they have been working in concert with the executive. After the inauguration of the next national assembly – by the grace of God I will be here – one of the first executive bills that will go to them from us will be to amend other sections of the constitution. It will be a continuous process until we have a constitution that reflects the thinking and aspirations of all Nigerians”
The President dismissed the notion that the executive and the national assembly were at loggerheads during the constitution amendment process, pointing out that the seeming controversy only served to make the process healthy, and to be in accordance with the laws of the land.
“We had no problem at all. All we tried to do was stick to the laws of the land because what we have done is not only for this generation but for generations to come. We must always correct perceived imperfections in our laws so as to make it a reference point for future generations,” the President said.
The President also noted that the concept of separation of powers notwithstanding, the executive and legislative arms of government are inseparable because they belong to same political parties and are therefore duty bound to work together for the good of all.
Speaking with State House correspondents after the ceremony, Senate President Mark noted that both the executive and the legislative arms of government have been in touch over the constitution amendment issue and resolved to move democracy forward in the country. “Today is historic because this is the first time in the history of this nation that we are successfully amending the constitution,” he said.