Constitution Review: NASS bows to governors on LG autonomy
The National Assembly has eaten the humble pie by bowing to the 36 state governors over the refusal of autonomy for local government councils as proposed in the 44 constitution amendment bills forwarded to state houses of assembly for concurrence in March 2022.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly has directed its Clerk, Sani Tambuwal, to as a matter of urgency, transmit the 35 bills that have so far met the requirement of the provision of Section 9(2) of the Constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent in line with the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act.
With the forwarding of the 35 Bills to President Buhari for assent, nine have so far been rejected by the state houses.
Out of the 44 constitution alteration bills forwarded to state houses of assembly for concurrence, only 35 were voted for by 24 out of the 36 States Houses of Assembly.
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The complete exclusion of financial and administrative autonomies for local government councils lost out.
Twenty-seven State Houses of Assembly have, however, forwarded their resolutions on 35 constitutional amendment bills to the National Assembly, with nine states remaining.
The State Houses of Assembly that were yet to forward their resolutions to the National Assembly are: Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara.
The National Assembly has also asked the remaining nine state Houses of Assembly that were yet to forward their resolutions on the constitutional amendment bills to do so in order to fulfil their constitutionally imposed legislative obligation.
Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a motion titled, “Passage of Constitution( Fifth) Alteration Bill’s, 2023 sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege(APC, Delta Central) and supported by 65 other Senators.
The motion was presented yesterday at the Chamber by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele(APC, Ekiti Central) on behalf of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who, as Deputy President of the Senate, Chairs the Senate Committee on Constitution Review.
Recall that the National Assembly had through its Senator Omo-Agege led joint ad hoc committee on constitution review in October last year lampooned the governors for not allowing the various state assemblies from concurring with constitution amendments proposals for Financials and Administrative autonomies for the 774 local government councils.
The Committee had threatened the governors that would mobilise the organised labour, particularly local government employees, against the various state governments on the bills for the required concurrence.
The directive that the Clerk should forward the Bills to President Buhari for assent is coming three months after the threat.
Some of the nine bills that failed passage at the state assemblies were: the one that sought for abrogation of the State Joint Local Government Account and provide for a special account into which shall be paid all allocations due local governments from the Federation Account and from the government of the state; and for Related Matters;
The one on the establishment of local government as a tier of government by guaranteeing their democratic existence, tenure; and related matters;
The one that sought for institutionalization of legislative bureaucracy in the Constitution; and for related matters as well as the one that sought for the inclusion of Presiding Officers of the National Assembly in the membership of the National Security Council; and for Related Matters, among others