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Constitution Review Impasse: Senate Backtracks

May 13 2015
  • Mark Opposes Senators’ resolve to override president’s veto
  • Resolves to obey Supreme Court Order
  • Requests Supreme Court for earlier hearing date

In what appears a u -turn, the Nigerian Senate today has dropped its move to override Mr. President’s veto on the 4th amendment of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria by the 7th National Assembly through the gazzetting process of the Bill as it threatened to do today. This is as Senate leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba has said the Senate would challenge the ex parte injunction by the Supreme Court asking the litigants (Senate/Executive) to maintain status quo.

Rising from a two hour Executive session where the senate President, Senator David Mark prevailed on his

Colleagues to suspend earlier decision to gazette the Bills the Senate President said as law makers, it was incumbent on them to obey the ruling of the highest Court of the land. He said, “I think it is proper for me because of the importance of the issue, to make a very simple but straight forward unambiguous statement. We are law makers and we will not be law breakers. We are not just law makers, we are very senior law makers and this is the apex of law making in this country. Therefore, on the issue of the current Constitution review that is before the Supreme Court, we want to assure Nigerians that we will not break any law of this country”.

Mark further said “, we will take appropriate action that will ensure that Democracy survives but I will also want to warn that we should not be taken for granted by the executive but once more, let me assure Nigerians that as law makers, we will not be law breakers”.

The Senate leader, Ndoma – Egba while addressing the press, wondered why the National Assembly having followed and adhered to the stipulated Constitutution amendment procedure in arriving at the Bill, was not put on notice.

As planned yesterday, the Bill to adopt the gazette of the

4th Amendment Bill which by implication is the first legislative step to override the President’s veto.

President Goodluck Jonathan it is recalled, addressed both leaders of the two chambers of the National Assembly on APRIL 13, 2015,via a letter in which he cited the non-compliance with the constitutional provision of section 9, regarding four- fifth majority in both chambers in arriving at the changes or alteration as well as the Usurpations of Presidential Powers in signing a bill into law.

Jonathan also expressed reservation on the separation of the office of the minister Justice and Attorney General of the federation among others.

This development had generated executive legislative spat between both arms of Government before the Attorney general of the federation headed to the Supreme Court to quash and stagnate the process as the law makers vowed to override the President’s veto.

The Senate has requested the Supreme Court to grant an earlier date other than a June 2015 date to hear the suit by which time the life of the current National Assembly would have elapsed. This is to allow for legislative input by the current National Assembly.

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