Why Oyo, Thirty Other States Yet To Consider Constitution Amendments
Four months after the National Assembly transmitted the 44 constitution amendment bills to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for concurrence, 31 states have yet to vote on the proposed reforms. Punch has learnt.
The Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Abubakar Suleiman, disclosed to our correspondent in Bauchi on Thursday, that only Kogi, Edo, Abia, Katsina, and Ogun States had voted on the various amendments to the constitution.
The National Assembly had in March transmitted the 44 constitution alteration bills to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for concurrence.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Amos Ojo, distributed the copies of the bills to clerks of the state Assemblies at a transmission ceremony in Abuja.
The National Assembly had on March 1, 2022, voted on the 68 amendments recommended by the Joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Special Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
To amend a clause in the Constitution, two-third or four-fifth majority of each of the Senate and the House has to approve the amendment after which it will be transmitted to the state Houses of Assembly, where two-third or 24 of the 36 of them have to concur.
But giving an update on the amendments to one of our correspondents, the speakers’ forum chairman stated that the state assemblies would object to any amendment ‘’ that will not be for the good of the people.’’
He explained that the resolutions of the State Houses of Assembly on the constitution review would be transmitted to the National Assembly by the first week of August.
Suleiman, who is also the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, said, “The state Houses of Assembly have resolved to play their constitutional role in the ongoing review of the constitution in a good time. In other words, after due consideration, we shall transmit back to the National Assembly the resolutions on the ongoing Constitution Review by the first week of August, 2022.
“The National Assembly has passed its resolution. If we (state legislatures) find any proposed amendment that will not go down well with the people particularly at the grassroots, we will not hesitate to object to it.
“However, until we carry out our legislative function by way of consultation and public hearings, such areas, if any, can’t be established.”
He said that the forum, during its 2022 first quarter general meeting in Ibadan, Oyo state, agreed to hold public hearings at their various states to gather inputs from the public.
The chairman further said that as of the time the resolutions were sent to the assemblies, most of them were on their annual recess, noting, however, that five states have so far passed them (the Resolutions).
He added, ‘“All the state Houses of Assembly are working on the Resolutions of the NASS presently. The Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria (an umbrella body for the speakers of the 36 State Houses of Assembly), in its first quarter general meeting held on April 2, 2022 in Ibadan, Oyo State, resolved among other things, that each state assembly should carry out public hearings in order to galvanize the inputs and views of the people at the grassroots on the ongoing Constitution review exercise.
“We decided not to rush and do a shoddy job. So, if the expectations were that we are going to transmit the Resolutions back to the National Assembly within a week of its receipt, then we would not have done justice to the exercise and that would be a great disservice to the nation.
“Like I have mentioned above, state Houses of Assembly are conducting public hearings on the Resolutions with a view to carrying people along and ultimately for the State Legislatures to take informed decisions that will stand the test of time.’’