Constitution Amendment: Reps Move To Override President’s Veto | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Constitution Amendment: Reps Move To Override President’s Veto

Posted: May 21, 2015 at 10:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  David Odama,   Abuja

 

THE controversies trailing the Constitution amendment  yesterday took a new dimension  as the House of Representative amended its relevant  rules  and sections that will enable it over ride the veto powers of the President in Constitutional amendment.

With the recent withholding of assent by President Goodluck Jonathan on the 1999 constitution as amended , the House has  amended its rules and  Order XIII to introduce new rules (10) – 13 to provide for the constitutional powers of the legislatures to override the veto powers of the President.

It would be recalled that the Supreme Court, had recently stopped the National Assembly from taking any steps to override President Jonathan’s veto powers on  the amendment carried out on the Constitution by the Legislature.

In order to stop the National Assembly from going ahead to pass the controversial amendments to the constitution, the Attorney General of the Federation had  applied for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the lawmakers   from taking any further step towards passing the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Act, 2015 into law pending the final determination of the suit earlier filed before the court.

In a motion titled “Amendment of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives: Order  eleven  Rule 98”, Hon. Sam Tsokwa,  Chairman rules and business and 22 others noted that Order eleven  provides the procedure for altering the 1999 constitution.

According to these new sub rules of Order eleven,  where the President withholds assent, the bill if passed again by two – thirds majority of the House as required by Section 58 of the 1999 constitution, that Bill shall become law.

Furthermore, “Notwithstanding the provisions in these Rules, the process of passage of a constitution Alteration Bill shall continue from one section to the other and from one Assembly  to another as if the tenure of each preceding Session or Assembly had not come to an end.”

The amendment of these Order by the House also said that when all requirements of sub rules (1) – 10 have been met and the President withholds his assent or fails to communicate why the assent was withheld probably at a close of an assembly, the succeeding assembly may commence the process of overriding  under section 58 of the constitution.

“Notwithstanding the provisions in these rules, the process of passage of a constitution alteration bill shall continue from one session to another and from one assembly to another, “Tsokwa  said.

He added, “the final copy of the clauses in the Bill that received the support of two – thirds majority of the state houses of assembly shall be compiled and if passed by a concurrent resolution of the house, shall thereafter be transmitted to the president for assent”

The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who presided over the House said that the committee of rules and business that was tasked with the matter have met the necessary requirements and that it why it brought to the House.

It will be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan refused assent to the Fourth Alteration Bill 2015 due to various reasons, a matter which is pending in the supreme Court.