Tuesday, 25 July 2017

1999 constitution: Senate considers 35 years for President, local government autonomy, 31 other amendments

The Senate has received the 33-item report on the fourth review of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

The report tabled at the Red Chambers on Tuesday by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, proposes amendments which include reducing the powers of the FG in the exclusive legislative list, financial autonomy for local government and state legislature; and downward review of the minimum age for elective public officers, among others.

The report on constitution amendment bill was presented on Tuesday by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The alteration bill appears to resolve the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign.

The bill now proposes 35 as the minimum age for the office of the President and being elected to the Senate; and 25 for the House of Representatives.

While the proposal calls for devolution of power to the states, by reviewing the content of the exclusive list, it fails to review the country’s revenue sharing system and power to control resources in various states.

The bill also seeks constitutional provision to compel president and governors to submit list of ministers and commissioners respectively, with portfolios and 35 per cent affirmative action for women, within 30 days of inauguration.

The bill also seeks to ensure that minister for the Federal Capital Territory is appointed from one of the six area councils that constitute Abuja, so that that FCT will be represented in the Federal Executive Council.

In seeking autonomy for local government areas, it proposes that only democratically elected councils can directly receive allocations from the federation accounts. In effect, the bill intends to abrogate state-LG joint-account system.

Originally, Ekweremadu’s report had 32 items. But Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi), added the 33rd item – proposal that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct local government elections.

“How do we speak of local government autonomy, without addressing the foundation,” argued Melaye.

Also, the bill proposes that “anyone who has been sworn in as president or governor to complete the term of the elected president or governor cannot do more than a single term.”

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