Home Politics Constitution Amendment: NASS to revisit Bill on devolution of powers

Constitution Amendment: NASS to revisit Bill on devolution of powers


By Naomi Sharang

Abuja –   The Deputy President of the Senate, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, says National Assembly will revisit issue of devolution of powers to unbundle it and make Federal Government more efficient.

A statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Mr Uche Anichukwu, on Thursday in Abuja, said Ekweremadu made this known when he briefed the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the Constitution amendment process.

He explained that out of the 33 Bills on proposed amendments to the Constitution, 21 Bills were passed by the Senate and House of Representatives, while 12 failed.

Ekweremadu said that efforts were on to build consensus around some of the failed bills, especially the one on devolution of powers.

On concerns that it was an aberration of federalism for State Houses of Assembly and local governments to draw revenues directly from the Federation Account, he said that it was considered in the review.

According to him, the amendments towards financial autonomy for both only sought to alter Section 162 of the Constitution.

“This is to abrogate the State Joint Local Government Accounts.

“It will create the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State from which all allocations due to Local Government Councils and the State Assemblies shall be directly paid from the Federation Account.”

Ekweremadu said that the proposed amendments would guarantee the democratic existence, funding and tenure of local government councils.

“Financial autonomy for Local Governments would not return primary education to the era of unpaid salaries.

“Although education remained the constitutional responsibilities of the Local Governments, provisions have been made to deduct from the source, the monthly financial obligations of Local Governments to primary education.

“This will be remitted into the account of state agencies overseeing basic education,” he said.

The lawmaker further said that altering Section 134 and 179 of the Constitution would avail the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) sufficient time to conduct bye-elections.

“Bill number 10 seeks to alter sections 58, 59 and 100 to resolve the usual situation where the President or Governor neglects to signify his or her assent to or veto of a bill from the legislature.

“So, the President or Governor will now have 30 days to signify his or her assent or veto rather than keep everyone in endless suspense, while passed bills gather dust in the shelf.”

He allayed fears that independent candidacy could make the electoral process cumbersome, noting that INEC would, by law, set the modalities for qualification of an independent candidate. (NAN)

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