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‘FG’s suit against N’Assembly violates separation of powers’

By Abosede Musari, Abuja
01 May 2015   |   5:49 am
REP-elect for Yewa North/Imeko Afon Federal Constituency, and former Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kayode Oladele, has described the decision by the Federal Government to drag the National Assembly to the Supreme Court over constitution amendment as ill-conceived and violates the doctrine of separation of powers and legislative supremacy.
Kayode Oladele

Kayode Oladele PHOTO: politicoscope.com

REP-elect for Yewa North/Imeko Afon Federal Constituency, and former Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Kayode Oladele, has described the decision by the Federal Government to drag the National Assembly to the Supreme Court over constitution amendment as ill-conceived and violates the doctrine of separation of powers and legislative supremacy.

Oladele, who was a practicing lawyer in Nigeria and the United States of America before his election into the Nigerian parliament, added that the Presidency should have no official role in constitution review.

He argued that the Supreme Court cannot rule on a bill unless it has been passed and has become a piece of legislation. The suit “is ill-conceived, preemptory and violates the doctrine of separation of powers.

The reason is simple; the proposed constitutional amendment has not become a piece of legislation, hence, it is not yet ripe for judicial review. “The primary purpose of the litigation is to decide whether or not the proposed amendment which they assumed, has become a piece of legislation, is inconsistent with the constitution.

However, while it is true that the Supreme Court has the power to interpret laws and declare them unconstitutional under the principle of judicial review, the Supreme Court clearly, cannot interpret a bill until such time when the bill has become legislation.

What this means is that the Supreme Court can only be vested with jurisdiction to review the proposed amendments only after the National Assembly must have overridden the President’s veto.”

He, however, advised the National Assembly not to override the President’s veto as two wrongs do not make a right. “I also urge the legislators to scrutinize and critically examine some of the objections raised by the President with a view to ensuring that their actions are consistent with the Constitution.

Amending a Constitution is a time-consuming process and can be very expensive. Therefore, the National Assembly must do all within its power to ensure that the final product of the Amended Constitution is not fraught with inconsistencies with the 1999 Constitution which could be a ground for judicial review and possible annulment by the Court.”