Constitution: Again, House Postpones Debate, Voting on Report

18 Jul 2013

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Hon. Aminu Tambuwal

Onwuka Nzeshi

For the second consecutive day, the House of Representatives yesterday postponed its debate, consideration and voting on the report of its Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review.

The process was stalled on Tuesday, following confusion over the appropriate procedure to handle the debate and complaints that some legislators were yet to get copies of the report.

It was then rescheduled for yesterday to allow the leadership resolve the challenges.
However, the House went into an executive (closed door) session as soon as it resumed plenary yesterday and when the doors were flung open, the process was aborted again.

Speaker of the House, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, said the members resolved not to conduct any legislative business in honour of the late Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido, a member of the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, who died about two weeks ago.

He said since the Senate had declared yesterday as a special valedictory session for the deceased, it behooved on the House to suspend plenary in solidarity with their colleagues. 

Insider sources at the closed door meeting said apart from acting in solidarity with the Senate, the House was forced to  shelve the consideration of the report because the issues that halted the process on Tuesday had not been resolved.

THISDAY gathered that apart from the conflicting position of members on the right approach to take in considering the report, the House was in a greater dilemma because the electronic platform installed in the chamber to facilitate voting on the report had broken down, having been left dormant in the last two years.

It was learnt that the facility, which was last used during the consideration of the Constitution Review report in the Sixth Assembly may cost the House over N15 million to rehabilitate. 

In order to resolve the problem, THISDAY learnt that the House had already begun moves to adopt the paper (ballot) system when it gets to the voting stage.

There were also speculations that given the outcome of the Constitution Review Report at the Senate, the House had come under intense pressure from different quarters, including state governors to review the rather hard positions it had proposed on certain issues.

THISDAY gathered that there were pressures on the House to adopt the position of the Senate on the issue of local government autonomy, immunity clause and some other contentious clauses.
THISDAY sources said the House might not consider the report until next week because the emerging challenges may not be fully resolved by today, the last legislative day of the week.

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured, Constitution, House, DEBATE, Voting, Report

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