Omo-Agege Accuses Govs, State Lawmakers Of Stalling Constitution Amendment Process

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has accused governors and states Houses of Assembly of frustrating the constitutional amendment process.

Briefing newsmen on Tuesday on the state of the constitution review exercise at the National Assembly, Abuja, Omo-Agege said state lawmakers sent his committee requests which they gave as conditions for passing the amendments approved by the National Assembly.

He disclosed that only 11 state have passed the bills transmitted to them while 25 have not passed the bills.

He said: “Let us give you a sense of where we are with the Bills as of today. Six months after the transmission of these Bills to State Assemblies, it is most disheartening to inform you that only 11 State Houses of Assembly have demonstrated their independence and loyalty to the . Constitution regarding the 44 bills. 25 State Houses of Assembly  have yet to consider and vote on these bills. So far,  only Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun and Osun States have successfully considered, voted on, and forwarded their resolutions on the 44 bills to the National Assembly.

“More worrisome is that while we are still expecting the receipt of the resolutions of the remaining Houses of Assembly, we received a letter from the Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies informing the National Assembly that the remaining states will not act on the 44 Bills unless the National Assembly passes four new Bills they have proposed in the letter. The Bills they propose seek to amend the Constitution to: establish State Police; establish State Judicial Council; streamline the procedure for removing Presiding Officers of State Houses of Assembly; and institutionalize Legislative Bureaucracy in the Constitution”.

He added: “We want to ensure everyone understands this: the National Assembly is in no way averse to acting on any proposed Bill or memoranda appropriately tabled before it, at any time in its life. However, it is legally inappropriate for the Conference of Speakers to use the four Bills as a quid pro quo to act on the 44 Bills the National Assembly 44 Bills transmitted. It is clear, and we cannot overstate, that this letter is not in keeping with the obligation the Constitution has placed on them regarding the Constitutional amendment.

” Let us be clear, the Bills the National Assembly transmitted to the State Houses of Assembly as required by the Constitution are not about members of the National Assembly. It transcends our personal and political interests. It is about the people who have graciously given us_ the temporary privilege to serve them. The offices and positions we each hold belong to the people. And they yearn for a government that is honest, accountable, and responsive to their needs. It is, therefore, disheartening that some State Houses of Assembly, through the Conference of Speakers, would give the National Assembly conditions before fulfilling their constitutional obligations.

“Although the Conference of Speakers did not allude to it in their letter, we are aware of the undue interference with legislative processes and the political capture of some State Houses of Assembly by some State Governors. No doubt, some State Governors have worked tirelessly to turn the Conference of Speakers and some State Assemblies into political puppets, thereby undermining and delegitimizing the legislative institution at the state level. This interference has been ramped up, especially in opposition to the Bills granting financial and administrative autonomy to Local Governments”.

GOCOP

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