Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The National Assembly has resolved to transmit the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill and 11 other Constitution Alteration bills which have satisfied the provisions of Section 9(2) of the 1999 constitution to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
This followed the adoption of the bills by two-thirds of the 36 state Houses of Assembly as part of the fourth constitution amendment exercise, which has 33 bills seeking to alter various provisions of the constitution.
The Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill also known as the Reduction of Age for Election bill, allows the age qualification for the offices of the president and governor to be reduced from 40 to 35, and for Senate, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly seats to be reduced from 30 to 25 years.
Other alteration bills to be transmitted to the president are Authorisation of Expenditure in Absence of Appropriation, Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures, the Legislature, Political Parties and Electoral Matters, the Nigerian Police Force, Restriction of Tenure of President and Governor, and Submission from Judiciary bills.
The list also includes alteration bills on Determination of Pre-Election Matters, Consequential Amendment on Civil Defence, Procedure for Overriding Presidential Veto in Constitutional Alteration and Time Line for the Presentation of Appropriation Bills.
The Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, presented the bills at plenary yesterday, and urged that they be transmitted, while awaiting the resolution of some state assemblies on five bills.
â€œWhile awaiting the resolution of some of the state Houses of Assembly on some of the bills, the bills that have met the requirements of the provisions of Section 9 of the constitution and passed, be processed in line with the Authentication Act and transmitted to the president for his assent to enable institutions of government prepare for immediate implementation of policies and programmes pursuant to the provisions,â€ Lawan said.
He said 35 state assemblies, excluding Lagos, have forwarded their resolutions on the bills to the National Assembly.
The 33 alteration bills had been voted on by both legislative chambers in July 2017, with the Senate approving 29, while the House approved 21 bills. 17 of the bills had been approved by both chambers without differences and transmitted to the state assemblies, while four approved with amendments, were committed to a conference committee.
The Authorisation of Expenditure in Absence of Appropriation bill (No.2) alters Sections 82 and 122 of the constitution to reduce the period within which the president or governor of a state may authorise the withdrawal of monies from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the absence of an Appropriation Act from six months to three months. The timeline for the presentation of Appropriation Bill (No. 28) provides a timeframe within which the president or governor should lay the Appropriation Bill before the legislature.
Restriction of Tenure of President and Governor bill (No. 16) restricts a person who was sworn in as president or governor to complete the term of his predecessor, from contesting for the same office more than once.
Procedure for Overriding Presidential Veto in Constitutional Alteration bill (No. 24) provides that in the event executive assent is not granted in 30 days, the bill automatically becomes law, and would eliminate the need for the legislature to activate the process for a veto.