Members of the House of Representatives Thursday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to assent to the constitution amendment bill was a judgment in error.
The president had in an April 13, 2015 letter to the National Assembly, explained that he withheld his assent to the constitution amendment bill due to inconsistencies, lack of clarity and evidence to show that four-fifth of the 360 members agreed on their decision on certain clauses.
Jonathan has already dragged the National Assembly to the Supreme Court on the matter.
However, addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Minority Whip, Hon. Samson Osagie, who spoke on behalf of the House ad-hoc committee on the review, said there was ample evidence to show that the lawmakers met the constitutional requirements on the process.
He said on the amendment to Section 9, which seeks to veto the president’s power on assenting an amendment bill, the minority whip said based on the House proceedings of Wednesday July 24, 2013, a total number of 338 were in attendance, while 317 voted ‘ayes’, 6 lawmakers voted ‘nays’ as 15 abstained from voting.
On President Jonathan’s argument for a new sub-section in Section 12, which is on free education for all, Osagie said the issue should be interpreted by the courts if there is any dispute.
The lawmaker added that the amendment to Section 58, which seeks to veto presidential powers on signing of bills into law after 30 days, “was made to cure the current practice whereby bills are sent to the president for assent, but he neither assents nor indicates withholding of assent, sometimes months after”.
On a review of Section 82, which is on money bill that seeks to reduce the period when expenditure can be authorized in default of appropriation from 6 months to 3 months, Mr. Osagie said the amendment was intended to cure the recent practice of executive arm not presenting appropriations bill on time, which delays its passage.
The president had equally argued that the amendment in Section 84, which seeks to have an Accountant-General of the Federation and that of the Federal Government separate was done in bad taste as there was no provision for funding requirements.