N’ Assembly faults Presidency’s suit over constitution amendment
THE National Assembly leadership yesterday faulted the decision of the Presidency to resort to court action as a way of addressing the crisis between it and the legislature on the amendment of the Constitution.
The Assembly leadership also claimed that it was yet to receive any official evidence that the matter had been taken to court adding that the no court process had been served on the National Assembly.
President of the Senate, David Mark, in a speech at the induction course for newly elected lawmakers, expressed concern that the President had to drag the National Assembly to the Supreme Court over the constitution amendment crisis.
Mark said: “The President has taken the Bill to the court. It is a Bill at the moment, unless it is signed. I really don’t see why that should be taken to court; but it is democracy, so anybody can go to court.”
But Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the National Assembly was yet to be served with any court notice on the constitution amendment exercise.
He also cautioned the new lawmakers against the danger of allowing an external body to decide on who leads the two chambers of the National Assembly.
Ekweremadu said: “In the past, some Nigerians tried to impose principal officers on the National Assembly. We recall that when Ghali Na’Abba was having issues in the House, they were able to resolve it because there was no external influence but we had a running battle with the executive when Patricia Etteh was speaker because of the support of the executive and we saw what happened. So it is advisable to allow the legislators to elect their principal officers without interference.
“In the National Assembly, we have laid down provisions for principal officers and one is the issue of ranking. As a new legislator you have to accept this provision, that ranking officers are elected because tomorrow you may be a beneficiary, so it is good for this provision to be sacrosanct.”
Also yesterday, the book titled “Constitutional Review in an Emerging Democracy: The Nigerian Experience,” authored by Ekweremadu was unveiled.
Co-authored by the Lead Consultant to the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Professor Offornze Amucheazi, the book looks at the modalities, processes and the challenges of constitutional review in Nigeria.