The National Assembly has transmitted the 44 recently-passed Constitution alteration bills to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for concurrence.
The Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Amos Ojo, distributed the copies of the bills to clerks of the state Assemblies at a transmission ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday.
The National Assembly had on March 1, 2022, voted on the 68 amendments recommended by the Joint Senate and House of Representatives’ Special Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
To amend a clause in the Constitution, two-third or four-fifth majority of each of the Senate and the House has to approve the amendment after which it will be transmitted to the state Houses of Assembly, where two-third or 24 of the 36 of them have to concur.
On Tuesday, Ojo noted that it was the first time since the country returned to democracy in 1999, when the clerks would be invited physically to the National Assembly for transmission of bills.
The Clerk also noted that the process was in compliance with Section 9(2) of the Constitution.
He said, “We must see ourselves as bona fide and privileged representatives of the Nigerian people because what we are doing today is one of the sacred and cardinal obligations of responsible and responsive servants of the people.
“The journey towards the fifth alteration started at the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly that took constitution amendment as one of its key legislative priorities among others.
“Given the importance of alterations to the Constitution, the two chambers of the 9th Assembly at inception inaugurated committees on Constitutional amendment headed by the Deputy President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; and the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, respectively.”
He added, “The 9th Assembly has since delivered on this key legislative priority and has equally passed 44 bills for the alteration of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Today, we are transmitting to you a total number of 44 bills as passed by the National Assembly. These bills deal with major issues on developments, governance, politics and the economy.
“They touch on issues which include the abrogation of the State Joint Local Government Account, financial independence of state legislatures and judiciary in compliance with legislative autonomy, timelines for civil and criminal cases.”
Ojo said with the transmission of the bills, “it must be made clear and unambiguous that the 9th National Assembly has started the process of restructuring within the polity.”
The Clerk added, “The fact of the matter is that powers are being shared enthusiastically and drastically in the sense that the states are now empowered to generate and distribute electricity, construct and own railways, airports and correctional centres.
“We are now going to have Financial Autonomy at the State Judiciary and the local layer of government. The Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, even at the various state levels, will now be separated, ditto for the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“You will agree with me that a strengthened local government will attract fundamental changes with more professionals as we have created a nursery school where people will learn the ropes of politics and governance, where they will move up the ladder of politics so that there will be no political neophytes. That will be a way of urgently introducing rapid development and democratic progress at the third tier of government.”
Chairperson of the Forum of Clerks, who is also the Clerk to the Delta State House of Assembly, Lyna Ocholor, pledged that her colleagues would carry out necessary legislative actions on the bills.