The lawmakers, who had on Tuesday debated the general principles of the bills, slated the clause voting for Wednesday.

During the voting process, key aspects of the amendment, including the push for devolution of powers (bill number three), amendment of the Land Use Act (contained in Bill number 32), and the bid for 35 per cent affirmative action for women. (Contained in bill number 11 and 23) were rejected as they failed to raised 73 votes needed for a clause to scale through.

It was gathered on Wednesday that the northern caucus in the Senate moved  against the passage of the amendment on Tuesday night when they orchestrated information that passing the Land Use Act amendment would give rise to resource control through the back door.

In rejecting the devolution of powers bill, 46 senators voted in support while 49 voted against it, while one lawmaker abstained.

Some of the lawmakers said the northern senators were able to frustrate the Land Use amendment clause by instilling the fear of resource control in others.

“What happened was that senators from the North, who had made up their mind to frustrate the amendment bill, sent words round that passing the amendment amounts to approving resource control. That scared senators from the Middle-Belt who had earlier promised to vote alongside their southern colleagues,” a senator had said.

The bill sought to alter the Second Schedule, Part I & II of the Constitution to devolve certain powers from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.

The bill also proposed to give more legislative powers to states, while also delineating the extent to which the federal legislature and state houses of assembly could legislate on the items in the concurrent legislative list.

Apart from rejecting the devolution of powers, the senators also rejected the bid to amend the Land Use Act section of the constitution.

The bill, listed as item 32 in the alteration bills, had sought to alter the 1999 Constitution to delete the Land Use Act from the constitution such that it could be subject to the regular process of amendment.

The Senate, however, rejected the item number seven on the alteration bill which would have guaranteed state creation and boundary adjustment.

The bill sought to alter section eight of the constitution to ensure that only democratically-elected local government councils would participate in the process of state creation and boundary adjustment.

It also sought to remove ambiguities in the extant provisions to enhance clarity with respect to the procedure for state creation.

Again, the senators rejected the affirmative action for women by voting against bill number 11 of the alteration bills, which sought to guarantee 35 per cent of ministerial appointments for women.

The bill essentially sought to provide timeframe for submitting names of ministerial or commissioner’s nominees to the National Assembly or state assembly.

The bill, according to the document, “seeks to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to set

a timeframe within which the president or a governor shall forward to the Senate or State House of Assembly, names of nominees for confirmation as ministers or commissioners; provide for attachment of portfolio and 35 per cent affirmative action for women.”

To defeat this clause, 49 senators voted yes, while 43 voted against, while two senators abstained.

To defeat the quest for 35 per cent affirmative action for women as commissioners in the states, the Senate voted 61 for and 35 against. None abstained.

The senators again hit the women hard when they rejected the bill seeking to allow a married woman the right to choose either her state of birth or state of marriage for purposes of appointments.

Senators voted 49 (yes) and 46 (no) to defeat the clause.

The women indigeneship bill sought to alter section 25 of the Constitution to guarantee a married woman’s right to choosing either her indigeneship by birth or by marriage for the purposes of appointment or election.

However, the Senate passed the clause seeking amendment to the composition of Council of States by including Senate presidents as members. 93 Senators voted to support the inclusion of the Senate presidents and speakers of the House of Representatives, while one abstained.

The senators also approved the deletion of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), with 73 voting in favour, while 19 voted against. Two abstained.

Again, the Senate provided time frame for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by-elections  and de-register political parties for non-fulfillment of certain conditions.

The lawmakers also passed bill number 10 to reduce the time frame to assent to bills by the president and governors with 95 voting yes and one no.

Essentially, the bill sought to alter sections 58, 59 and 100 to resolve the impasse where the president or governor neglected to signify his/her assent to a bill from the National Assembly or withhold such assent.

To fast-track the process of composition of government after transition, the Senate approved amendments to set a timeframe within which the president or a governor must forward the list of ministerial or commissioner nominees to the Senate or the House of Assembly.

The Senate also amended the bill seeking to provide a time frame for the president or governor to lay the Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or House of Assembly to encourage the early presentation and passage of Appropriation Bills.

Currently, the president and governors have a six-month window, which the Senate had reduced to three.

The lawmakers successfully deleted the NYSC Decree, the Public Complaints Commission Act and the National Securities Act from the constitution through the amendments that scaled on Wednesday.

Speaking at the end of the voting exercuise, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said he was thankful for his colleagues who took pains to go through the exercise.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here