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Reps alter rules in move to override President’s veto on constitution


PDP Presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan

PDP Presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan

The House of Representatives has altered the chamber’s standing rules in a move that will culminate in the provision of a more flexible way of overriding a President’s veto on Constitution Alteration Bills.

In the wake of the controversies that greeted President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to assent to the Constitution fourth alteration Bill, the parliament met behind closed doors, and directed its committee on Rules and Business to make adjustments to its rules.

Moving for the adoption of the panel’s recommendations on the floor yesterday, Chairman of the Committee, Albert Tanimu Sam-Tsokwa explained that the alteration became necessary as there was hitherto, no explicit provision in the House’s rules on the procedure to overriding a President’s veto on a constitution amendment Bill, as was the case with money and other Bills.

Meanwhile, the new adjustment shows that unlike in the past procedure, processing of such a Bill, if not concluded in the life of a subsisting Assembly, shall continue in the next Assembly, provided that it is re-gazetted and circulated, as well as the possibility of new Assembly to override the President’s veto on such a Bill passed by the preceding assembly, as outlined in section 58 of the Constitution.

Consequently, Order XIII has been amended by the introduction of a new sub-rules 10 to 13 under the extant Rule 98 of House’s standing orders, and these read; “(10) The final copy of the clauses in the bill that received the support of two-third majority of the State Houses of Assembly shall be compiled and if passed by a concurrent resolution of the House, shall thereafter be transmitted to the President for assent.

“(11) When the President withholds assent, the Bill, if passed again by two-third majority of members of the House, as required by Section 58 of the 1999 Constitution shall become law.

“(12) Notwithstanding the provisions of these rules, the process of passage of a Constitution Alteration Bill shall continue from one session to the other and from one Assembly to the next Assembly.

“(13) When all requirements of sub rules (1) to (10) have been met and the President either withholds his assent or fails to communicate the withholding thereof, or any circumstance arises which makes it impracticable for the National Assembly to consider the issue of overriding the President’s veto before the end of the tenure of the Assembly, the succeeding Assembly may, upon such Bill being gazetted again and circulated, resolve to commence the process of veto override under Section 58 of the 1999 constitution.”

Specifically, President Jonathan had raised some reservations, including procedural non-compliance, as well as conflicting provisions in the fourth Constitution alteration Bill among others, while withholding his assent.

  • Daniel Adams

    Follow due process not by amending the rules.

  • New Nigerian

    First rule in the law of existence – you do not get to amend the rules about your own existence. These folks are simply confused and continue to go at wanting to make the legislature the “ruling” power being able to enact any bill and then it becomes law. 2/3rd majority should NOT be enough to over-rule the president who we the people elected to also check the excesses of the national assembly. It should be a super majority when it comes to a fundamental issue as the constitution – it should be that 100% of elected representatives agree.

    The clause of also saying that a law becomes law even if the president vetoes it is another way of diluting the power of the president – pray, where has the will to do this been in the last 16 years, if at all it is useful? Why are these outgoing PDP-controlled national assembly bent of fouling up and leaving a bitter pill for incoming administration by hook or crook?

    • emmanuel kalu

      it is pure madness. this is what happens when you get elected to a nigeria office, and your become a billionaira. nigeria elected official are the most paid across this world, even more than america the richest country in the world.

    • Nigerian

      They are out going self-serving and greedy.

  • tosin nwafor

    This news scares me. To think that a bunch of ne’er do wells can veto the president by a mere 2/3 vote is outlandish. Surely, this would not see the light of day?
    Is there a record of the law makers that assent to this rubbish? I suppose there should be some sort of electronic record which should BE MADE PUBLIC! let me see if the senator representing my constituency is part of this arrant nonsense. At least thank God for Abike Dabiri Erewa that sponsored the FOI bill. Each senator’s voting pattern should be made public on their individual and NASS website. It’s time to make my vote count mbok.

  • IduSpringfield

    2/3 rd. Majority is not enough to overrule a president. These guys are jokers overpaid I dare say. They should be discussing the issue of cutting their outlandish greedy allowances and pay.