NASS moves to amend 1999 Constitution to increase presidential powers

Posted by Taiwo Amodu and Osaretin Osadebamwen, Abuja | 14 November 2019 | 791 times

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The National Assembly has disclosed that it would seek the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended) to provide for a smooth transition of legislative powers from an outgoing to an incoming National Assembly.

It would also though the process reinforced the powers of the President to dissolve the outgoing National Assembly and convene the first session as contained in the National Assembly bill, 2019.

The resolution was sequel to deliberations on the National Assembly Inauguration Bill, 2019, which was eventually stood down to enable issues raised in the bill to be addressed through a process of a constitutional amendment.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP, Benue North East), in his lead debate, said the bill among other things, “seeks to ensure a smooth transition of legislative powers from the outgoing National Assembly to the incoming one.”

The former Benue State governor argued that this could be achieved by providing a comprehensive legal framework for managing and coordinating the inauguration and swearing-in of newly elected or in-coming Senators or members-elect after the dissolution of the outgoing National Assembly by the President in exercise of his powers under section 64 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He further submitted that though Section 311 of Chapter VIII, Part I of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, makes transitional provisions with respect to Standing Orders of the Senate, no such transitional and saving provisions were contained in any extant law with respect to the Standing Orders of any outgoing and incoming National Assembly.

He said: “It suffices to say that by item 68 of the Exclusive List, Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the power of the National Assembly to legislate on the inauguration day/date of elected members of the National Assembly is incidental to the Exclusive power of the National Assembly to legislate on the election of members of the National Assembly.”

Underscoring the need to designate a particular day for inaugurating the in-coming National Assembly, Suswam said doing so “would avert a vacuum and constitutional crisis that may arise as a result of the time lag between the inauguration of the President and the swearing-in of newly elected members of the National Assembly.” (Nigerian Tribune)


Source: News Express

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