Constitution amendment bid fails

The Senate yesterday, dropped its earlier plan to override President Goodluck Jonathan’s veto of the 2015 Constitution Amendment Bill in deference to the Supreme Court’s stay of action ruling on the National Assembly last week.

At the end of a two-hour closed session on the matter, the senior lawmakers resolved to abide by the order of the Supreme Court which halted further action by the National Assembly on the amendment of the constitution.

Upon commencement of plenary, the Senate President, David Mark, said the session singularly focused on the controversy surrounding the 2015 Constitution amendment bill between the Presidency and the National Assembly.

He explained that senators decided that as lawmakers, it would be wrong for them to take any action that would portray them as law breakers.

He, however, warned that the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly should not be taken for granted by the Executive because of their law abiding posture.

Mark said: “As we finished our discussion at the executive session, I think it is proper for me because of the importance of the issue at stake, to make a very simple, straight forward and unambiguous statement.

He continued: “We will take appropriate actions to ensure that democracy survives. But I will also want to warn that we should not be taken for granted by the Executive.

Once more, let me assure Nigerians that as lawmakers, we will not be law breakers.” Briefing journalists after the plenary session, the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, said the executive session was an opportunity to brief the Senate in plenary.

According to him, the developments and circumstances surrounding the bill were discussed at the executive session so that the Senate in plenary would have the full picture.

He was not pleased that the process which took the National Assembly close to three years with public hearings at zonal and state levels, could be discarded on the basis of shortcomings.

According to him, the hearings were open to the public including members of the executive. “The executive was represented at the public hearings.

It was there they were supposed to point out their reservations or concerns about each of the amendments. “They did not do so then, but rather have turned around, when the Houses of Assembly have passed their amendments and we are to conclude that they suddenly confronted us with this ambush. We think it is in bad faith and it is regrettable.”

Souurce: The guardian