Constitution, Electoral Act amendment tops agenda as N’Assembly resumes today

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National Assembly will on Tuesday (today) resume plenary after five weeks recess to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

Some critical bills are waiting for consideration and passage as the federal lawmakers resume.

The lawmakers, who embarked on the holiday on December 20, 2019, had suspended work on some of the bills while consideration of others was scheduled to begin this year.

The tasks ahead of the House include review of 1999 Constitution, which involve bills by members seeking to amend various parts of the law.

The House will also resume work on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

Deputy Speaker, Mr Ahmed Wase, is billed to lead the House Committee on Constitution Review.

The House will revisit the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which caused a friction between the Presidency and the 8th National Assembly, leading to its eventual abandonment.

Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, had on December 6, 2019, said the parliament would commence work on the PIGB and amendment to the 1999 Constitution this year.

He noted that both the Constitution review and the PIGB were among bills that the House would prioritise in 2020.

Earlier on October 31, 2019, the Speaker had stated that the 9th House was committed to amending the constitution and the Electoral Act.

He noted that one of the setbacks suffered by the National Assembly in the last attempt to amend the Electoral Act was the controversy generated by the move to reorder the sequence of polls during the general elections.

Gbajabiamila made reference to the controversial Section 25 of the amendment bill processed by the 8th National Assembly, which the lawmakers were forced to delete from the subsequent versions of the legislation.

Buhari had withdrawn assent to four versions of the bill consecutively, citing various reasons.

 The Speaker, however, said the House would give attention to PIGB, Police Reform Bill and Companies and Allied Matters Act amendment bill, among others.

He stated that unlike what happened during the last Assembly where both the constitutional and Electoral Act amendments bills were rejected by the President, the National Assembly would, this time ensure a thorough work, which would make the President assent to the bills.

Earlier on October 16, 2019, House Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters expressed its readiness to reintroduce the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and restart legislative process on the document.

Chairman of the committee, Mrs Aisha Dukku, regretted that despite efforts by the legislature since 2011 to amend the laws governing electoral processes in the country, the legal framework had not changed.

The 8th Assembly could only pass one of the PIB’s four components, known as Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.