Monday, 17 July 2017

FG to shed powers – Ekweremadu

The National Assembly resolved on Monday that the 1999 Constitution needs some reforms that would enhance the development of the country.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who addressed journalists at a retreat for the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution held in Lagos, said some of the contentious issues would be reviewed to meet the yearning of the people.

He said the country would be restructured, noting that railways would no longer be in the exclusive list.

He said: “We have broken all the issues into specific bills. Between yesterday and today (Monday) we have looked at about 23 separate bills with separate issues. The idea is to ensure that by the time we vote, each of them succeed or fail on its own.  When we conclude the work and send it to the House to approve.

“We will collate and ensure that the provisions of the constitution have been fulfilled regarding the alteration and we will send it to the President for his assent. And the President will decide which one to assent or not to assent.

“The implication therefore is that if he assent some, then those ones become an alternative part of the constitution. And the ones he refused to assent, then we might decide whether to override the veto. So, we want each of them to have a separate life on its own. And this is based on our own experience in the last exercise where everything was in one single bill and when the President withheld his assent, all of them collapsed.

“This is just an improvement on what we did last time. It is something we innovated based on our experience in the last exercise. Now, we have gone through some specific issues like the timeframe within which a governor or President will be able to assent to a bill. If you look at our constitution, I think Section 58, if you pass a bill, you need to send it to the President for his assent and he has to assent it within 30 days. ”

Ekweremadu said it was imperative to for the Federal Government to shed some of its powers.

He added: “We also tried to withdraw some powers from the executive list to the concurrent list. You know we have been talking about the restructuring of Nigeria, one of the components of restructuring is to reduce the federal government’s powers.  There are claims that the federal government has too much power and we need to strip some of them.”

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