Constitution Amendment: Defection Bill Generates Ripples In Senate

senate-chamber_anti_terrorism_billThe decision of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution to modify sections 68 and 109 in the proposed amendments is currently causing disquiet in the Red chamber.

The committee, led by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, last week submitted additional provisions which sought to alter certain sections of the constitution.

Specifically, the proposal seeks to alter sections 68 and 109 to empower the Clerk of the National Assembly and their counterparts in the states Houses of Assembly to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission in writing, within seven days of a vacancy in any of the chambers arising from resignation, death or defection.

However, members of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, have vowed to block the passage of the bill, which they see as a clever attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to foreclose any attempt by some aggrieved senators in the upper chamber to dump the party.

The opposition senators argued that the proposed bill was a back door way of initiating the process of declaring vacant, the seats of defecting senators.

Senators Ganiyu Solomon and Kabiru Marafa urged their members to reject the bill because it was unnecessary since the Senate had passed an earlier proposal.

But Senators Ita Enang, Abdul Ningi, James Manager and Ike Ekweremadu, all of the PDP, however, said the passage of the bill was crucial to the strengthening of democracy in the country.

Enang said, “The constitution is not made for a person and could not be deemed to have been made for a person. This amendment is not being made with any person in mind.

“I am in agreement with the proposal and it is not in any manner restrictive and I pray that we adopt it. Secondly, there are lots of amendments proposed by the committee in this bill and they do not seem to attract enough attention as the first amendment”.

However, Senate President, David Mark, ruled that voting on the bill will take place on Wednesday.


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