…Promise to look into National Conference Report
Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara today formally inaugurated a forty nine (49) member Constitution Review Ad-hoc committee at the national assembly. The speaker also promised to look into some of the recommendations of the national conference organised by former president Goodluck Jonathan.
An elated Speaker Dogara told the gathering members of the committee consist of one representative from each State of the Federation and the FCT, Nine Principal Officers, and special representatives of women.
Since the coming into effect of the 1999 Constitution, and the convocation of the National Assembly in 1999, varying efforts were made in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Assembly to alter some sections of the Constitution. Indeed the 6th Assembly (2007-2011) enacted the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Alteration Acts. The 4th Alteration Act was successfully carried out at the level of the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly, by the 7th Assembly (2011-2015) but was unfortunately not assented to by the then President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR.
Recalled that the 8th House of Representatives in its Legislative Agenda had vowed to revisit the issue of the constitution amendment. Part of its legislative agenda reads: “The laudable efforts of the 7thNational Assembly that led to far reaching alterations to the 1999 Constitution was not assented to by the former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR. The House of Representatives will revisit the Constitution Reform achievements of the 7th Assembly with a view to achieving its passage. Since Constitution Alteration is a continuous process, any further proposals to amend the Constitution would receive support of the House. On the whole, the Constitution amendment process will be expedited and concluded within a given and early time frame”.
Speaker Dogara said he did not want to dwell on the reasons President Jonathan did not assent to the Bill as it will distract the 8th house from moving forward.
He however listed the jurisdiction and mandate of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review as the following:
a. To conclude work on the 4th Alteration Bill, started by the 7th Assembly.
b. To process all other proposals for further alteration of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as may be necessary on behalf of the House of Representatives, or as referred to it by the House.
“In carrying out your assignment, we would recommend a two-track approach. Firstly, we need to conclude the 4th Alteration Bill, which is pending. Secondly, we need to process all the other new Bills referred to the Committee by members, including new proposals from the general public. We may also sift ideas from the CONFAB Report of 2014, in a possible 5th Alteration Bill.”
“We must avoid the temptation of starting afresh. A lot of public funds were spent in processing the botched 4th Alteration Bill and we think that it would be a disservice to this country if the work of the 7th Assembly on this matter is completely jettisoned. The House of Representatives, in particular consulted the Nigerian people widely, leading to the Peoples’ Public Sessions that took place in 360 Federal Constituencies of Nigeria, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.”
The rest of his speech reads:
Honourable colleagues, you are all aware that at the twilight of the 7th Assembly, the House amended its Standing Orders by introducing a New Order XIII, Rule 98, Clause 12 and 13 as follows –
Notwithstanding the provisions in these Rules, the process of passage of a Constitution Alteration Bill, shall continue from one session to the other, and from one Assembly to another as if the tenure of the preceding session or Assembly had not come to an end”.
When all requirements of Sub-Rules (1-10) have been met, the Bill shall be forwarded to the President for his assent. Where the President either withholds his assent or fails to communicate the withholding thereof, or any circumstances arises which makes it impracticable for the National Assembly to consider the issue of overriding the President’s veto before the end of the tenure of the Assembly, the succeeding Assembly may upon such Bill being gazetted again and circulated, resolve to the commence the process of veto override under Section 58 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999”.
My advice however is that we should not proceed on the path of veto-override but should take steps to re-gazette the agreed aspects of the Bill. This should be subjected to the appropriate legislative processes required by the Standing Orders of the House and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As a House and a Committee, we should work together with and consult fully the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the procedure, process and activities of this Constitution Review in order to achieve the necessary synergy and save parliamentary time.
Furthermore, we must also consult fully the State Houses of Assembly who have shown remarkable unity of purpose whenever they are called upon to partner with the National Assembly in this regard.
Finally, I wish to re-iterate that the House places a lot of confidence in the ability of members of this Committee to rise to the occasion and deliver on your assignment in the shortest possible time.
May I, therefore, formally inaugurate the Ad-Hoc Committee on Constitution Review and to wish you success in this important national assignment.
The full names of members of the 8th Assembly House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee on constitution review are:
i. Hon. Yussuff Suleiman Lasun
(Deputy Speaker) – Chairman
ii. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila – Member
iii. Hon. Ado Garba Alhassan – Member
iv. Hon. Umar Buba Jibril – Member
v. Hon. Pally Iriase – Member
vi. Hon. Leo Ogor – Member
vii. Hon. Umar Barde Yakubu ¬- Member
viii. Hon. Chukwuka Wilfred Onyema – Member
ix. Hon. Binta Bello – Member
x. Hon. Sunday Karimi – Member
xi. Hon. Funke Adedoyin – Member
xii. Hon. Zephaniah Jisallo – Member
xiii. Hon. Gyang Istifanus Dung – Member
xiv. Hon. Abubakar Chika – Member
xv. Hon. Emma Udende – Member
xvi. Hon. J. G. Gaza – Member
xvii. Hon. Sani M. Abdu – Member
xviii. Hon. Aisha Jibir Dukku – Member
xix. Hon. Zakari Y. Galadima – Member
xx. Hon. Mohammed Nur Sheriff – Member
xxi. Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim – Member
xxii. Hon. Rimande Kwewum Shewulu – Member
xxiii. Hon. Alhassan Bala Abubakar – Member
xxiv. Hon. Abubakar Hussaini Moriki – Member
xxv. Hon. Sunday Marshall Katung – Member
xxvi. Hon. Rabiu Garba Kaugama – Member
xxvii. Hon. Mohammed Ali Wudil – Member
xxviii. Hon. Adullahi Umar Faruk – Member
xxix. Hon. Murtala Isah – Member
xxx. Hon. Nkem Uzoma Abonta – Member
xxxi. Hon. Eucharia Azodo – Member
xxxii. Hon. Nwazunkwu Chukwuma – Member
xxxiii. Hon. Kingsley Ebenyi – Member
xxxiv. Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso – Member
xxxv. Hon Diri Douye – Member
xxxvi. Hon. Henry Okon Archibong – Member
xxxvii. Hon. Bassey Eko Ewa – Member
xxxviii. Hon. Daniel Reyenieju – Member
xxxix. Hon. Nnam Obi Uchechukwu – Member
xl. Hon. Akpatason Peter Ohiozojeh – Member
xli. Hon. Babajimi Benson – Member
xlii. Hon. Yinka Ajayi – Member
xliii. Hon. Isiaka Ayotunre Ibrahim – Member
xliv. Hon. Kehinde Agboola – Member
xlv. Hon. Olemija Stephen – Member
xlvi. Hon. Segun Ogunwuyi – Member
xlvii. Hon. Asabe Vilita Bashir – Member
xlviii. Hon. Onyemaechi Joan Mrakpor – Member
xlix. Hon. Stella Ngwu – Member