ABUJA – National Assembly has certified the Fourth Amended 1999 Nigerian Constitution for onward transmission to President Goodluck Jonathan for his assent.
Presenting the proposed amended Constitution to the Senate for final passage, Chairman of Senate Committee on Constitution Review, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, noted that “provisions of the Bill have satisfied the requirement of Section 9(2) of the Constitution in line with the Acts Authentication Act and hasa be transmitted to the President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for his assent, to enable institutions of government prepare for immediate implementation of policies and programmes pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution as amended”.
In the new amendment, the National Assembly also empowered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties if there is a breach of any of the requirements for registration and if such political parties fail to win presidential, governorship of at least one state, chairmanship of at least one local government/area council or a seat in the national or state assembly election.
The National Assembly has also made provision for independent candidates in elections unlike in the existing Constitution which makes it mandatory for all candidates to be members of political parties.
Proposed independence of Local Government was rejected by twenty states of the federation.
In the report of the Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution submitted by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu yesterday, 20 states voted against local government autonomy while 16 states voted in support.
The 20 states who voted against are: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Rivers, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
States who gave the yes votes are: Adamawa, Anambra, Abia, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Gonbe, Imo, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau and Sokoto states.
The proposed amendments which was rejected indicated that “a local government council not democratically elected shall not be recognised by all authorities and persons and shall not be entitled to any revenue allocation from the Federation Account or the state government nor exercise any function exercisable by a local government council under this Constitution or any law for the time being in force; and “shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of four years, commencing from the date the members of the Council were sworn in.”
The new Constitution also stipulated the timeline within which every pre-election matter shall be filed which is not later than seven days from the date of the occurrence of the event, decision or action complained of in the suit.
Besides, a court in every pre-election matter shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of filing of the suit while an appeal from a decision in a pre-election matter shall be filed within 14days from the date of delivery of the judgment appealed against; and an appeal from a decision of a court in a pre-election matter shall be heard and disposed of within 60 days from the date of filing of the appeal.”
Furthermore, Section 67 is altered by substituting for section 67(1) a new subsection “67(1)” which states that a sitting president shall attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver an address in respect of the state of the nation.
The new constitution also stipulates that the president may attend any joint meeting of the National Assembly, either to deliver an address on national affairs including fiscal measures, or to make such statement on the policy of government as he considers to be of national importance.”

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