Constitutional Amendment Governors Scared Of Losing Hold

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As the proposed amendment of the Nation’s constitution by the National Assembly gathers momentum, a cold war is also brewing between the 36 state governors and their respective Houses of Assembly over some modifications in some sections of the proposed amendment.

A member of the Rivers State House of Assembly who spoke with The Weekend Tide on condition of anonymity said the state governors are not comfortable with sections 121 and 190 in the proposed Act.

According to him, the 36 state governors, after an emergency meeting held in one of the Northern States, were not happy with the proposed amendment that demands the State House of Assembly to be paid directly from the consolidated revenue fund.

Clause 15 of the amendment Act is calling for an alteration of section 121 (Sub-Section 3) and is proposing that the Federal Government remite directly from the consolidated revenue fund of the states to the State Houses of Assembly and the Heads of Courts.

The lawmaker stated that the proposed amendment of section 190 is seeking to mandate the governor of a state proceeding on vacation or unable to discharge the functions of his office, to transmit a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Assembly to that effect.

That until the Governor transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration to the contrary, the Deputy Governor shall perform the functions of the Governor as Acting Governor.

Part of the proposed section 190 reads thus:

“In the event that a governor is unable or fails to transmit the written declaration within 21 days, the House of Assembly shall by a resolution made by a simple majority of the vote of the House mandate the Deputy Governor, as Acting Governor, until the Governor transmits a letter to the Speaker, that he is now available to resume his functions as a Governor.”

He continued that the Speakers of the state Houses of Assembly and their Legislators in a meeting held recently in Abuja, had resolved to ensure that the proposed amendment by the National Assembly is passed into law despite the contentions from the State Governors, noting that the various proposals in the amendment were of good purpose for the country’s democracy.

The Weekend Tide gathered that Governors of the 36 states are not comfortable with the various proposals, saying that it gives the state Houses of Assembly superior edge over the Governors and their executive arm.

The Weekend Tide further learnt that the National Assembly is to send delegates to all the state Houses of Assembly to supervise and monitor the deliberations.

Meanwhile, the House Leader, Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Chidi Lloyd during a courtesy visit to the National Councillors Forum of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, stated that the state legislature would soon commence debate on the harmonised copy of the proposed constitution amendment.

Hon Lloyd said the house would invite them (the councillors) to witness the deliberation in order for them to be abreast of opportunities that would be provided during the debates to improve their legislative performances.