*No, president should signal, Justice Okeke dominated in 2010
A fortnight after President Muhammadu Buhari withheld assent to 16 of the 35 Structure Alteration Payments, a human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, yesterday, mentioned the choice by the president to withhold assent on among the alteration payments to the structure contravened Part 9 of the 1999 Structure as amended.
However Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal Excessive Courtroom, Lagos, had dominated in November 2010 that the president should assent to payments earlier than they grow to be legislation.
In different phrases, what this implies in essence is that, if the payments compulsorily required the assent of the president, then, the president additionally withholds the proper to say no his assent if he so needs.
But, Falana, a former President of West African Bar Affiliation, additional argued that the 16 structure modification payments, which the president refused to signal on March 17, would routinely grow to be efficient as a result of their enactment had duly happy the necessities of the Structure.
He made these claims in a response to a THISDAY inquiry, identified that despite the fact that his assent “is required, there is no such thing as a provision for the president to withhold assent to the structure alteration payments,” including, nevertheless, that each the state and federal legislatures had been authorised by Part 9 of the structure to make legal guidelines.
Buhari had signed 16 Structure Alteration Payments, 2023 into legislation out of the amendments payments to the 1999 Structure offered to him by the Nationwide Meeting whereas he withheld assent to 16 different payments
The president’s assent to 16 structure alteration payments had authorised the states to generate, transmit and distribute electrical energy. It equally empowered them to undertake railway tasks with any interference from the federal authorities, amongst others.
In his assertion, Falana claimed that Buhari lacked the ability “to reject the constitutional modification payments handed by the required majority within the Nationwide Meeting and 27 out of the 36 homes of Meeting of the states.”
The senior lawyer defined that the president’s energy to withhold his assent “is proscribed to payments handed by the Nationwide Meeting pursuant to part 58 of the Structure.”
Part 58 (1-2) of the 1999 Structure states: “The facility of the Nationwide Meeting to make legal guidelines shall be exercised by payments handed by each the Senate and the Home of Representatives and, besides as in any other case offered by subsection (5) of this part, assented to by the President.
“A invoice could originate in both the Senate or the Home of Representatives and shall not grow to be legislation except it has been handed and, besides as in any other case offered by this part and part 59 of this Structure, assented to in accordance with the provisions of this part.”
Beneath Part 58(5), particularly, the Structure states: “The place the President withholds his assent and the invoice is once more handed by every Home by two-thirds majority, the invoice shall grow to be legislation and the assent of the President shall not be required.”
Falana argued that Part 58 of the 1999 Structure “doesn\’t embrace the ability of the president to withhold assent after the Nationwide Meeting and 36 Homes of Meeting have duly altered some sections of the Structure.”
Although a court docket of competent jurisdiction had declared that assent of the president “is required after the constitutional modification,” Falana argued that the president lacked the ability to withhold assent as soon as constitutional necessities had been met, arguing that it was Part 9 of the 1999 Structure that offered for the method of amending the structure opposite to Part 58 that the president relied on to withhold assent to the 19 modification payments.
Part 9(1-3) of the 1999 Structure states: “The Nationwide Meeting could, topic to the supply of this part, alter any of the provisions of this Structure.
“An Act of the Nationwide Meeting for the alteration of this Structure, not being an Act to which part 8 of this Structure applies, shall not be handed in both Home of the Nationwide Meeting except the proposal is supported by the votes of not lower than two-thirds majority of all of the members of that Home and permitted by decision of the Homes of Meeting of not lower than two-thirds of all of the States.
“An Act of the Nationwide Meeting for the aim of altering the provisions of this part, part 8 or Chapter IV of this Structure shall not be handed by both Home of the Nationwide Meeting except the proposal is permitted by the votes of not lower than four-fifths majority of all of the members of every Home, and likewise permitted by decision of the Home of Meeting of not lower than two-third of all States.”
According to these provisions, the senior lawyer defined how the Nationwide Meeting voted and handed 44 constitutional modification payments and forwarded them to the homes of Meeting of the 36 states.
Out of the 44 payments, Falana claimed that 27 homes of meeting “handed 35 modification payments to the 1999 Structure. The variety of state homes of meeting that handed the 35 payments had been greater than the 24 states required by part 9 of the 1999 Structure.
“Thereafter, the Nationwide Meeting despatched the 35 payments to the President for his assent. The President was reported to have assented to solely 16 out of the 35 payments. On this respect, the President lacks the ability to reject the constitutional modification payments handed by the required majority within the Nationwide Meeting and 27 out of the 36 homes of Meeting of the states.”
Okeke, in his ruling, contended that, the modification to the 1999 Structure carried out by the then Nationwide Meeting couldn\’t grow to be operational with out the assent of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Okeke, additionally dominated that the purported modification to the Structure remained inchoate till it was offered to the president for his assent and approval, including that the the 2010 Structure Modification Act was null and void.
Justice Okeke got here to the conclusion whereas delivering judgment in a swimsuit filed by the previous President of the Nigerian Bar Affiliation (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba, difficult the refusal of the federal lawmakers to ahead the amended Structure to the President for his assent.
Agbakoba had sued the Nationwide Meeting and the Legal professional Common and Minister of justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, difficult the legality of the declare by the lawmakers that President Jonathan’s assent was not required earlier than the modification to the Structure can grow to be operational.
In the identical vein, Second Republic Nationwide Secretary of the Nationwide Celebration of Nigeria (NPN), Chief Richard Akinjide advised Saturday Vanguard in his response to the event that the amended structure required the assent of the President as a result of that\’s the legislation.
“The Nationwide Meeting can not bypass the President . It\’s illegal. If the President doesn\’t assent these amendments, they won\’t be legitimate.What they\’ve achieved is an modification to some sections of the structure. It\’s not a wholesale overview of your complete structure.
“The Nationwide Meeting described it as an Act. You can not go an Act with out the assent of the President. That\’s clear while you have a look at the interpretation of an Act and the supply of our structure.”
In his opinion, too, Felix Ayanruoh Esq, mentioned “The arguments that Presidential assent shouldn\’t be required within the modification of the Nigerian Structure is inaccurate, specious, and with out sound foundation in legislation. There is no such thing as a case legislation or statutory provision that backs these assertions. We don’t want america legislation or different nation’s legislation as a precedent when our personal legal guidelines are clear on the problem.
“The Nigerian Structure could be very clear on this situation and any statutory or case legislation that\’s inconsistent to the supply of the Structure is to the extent of its inconsistencies void.It needs to be famous that in contrast to the Nigeria Structure the modification of the US structure can emanate from both Congress or the States to name for a brand new Constitutional Conference to make the amendments.
“Additionally the states have two methods of ratifying an modification. Both ¾ of the state legislature could approve an modification; or every state can have a conference to approve the modification. 27 amendments have been ratified and grow to be a part of america Structure. All however one of many proposals turned an modification by passing State Legislature. The modification provisions of each constitutions are totally different and shouldn\’t be interpreted as identical.
“Suffice to state that the intentions of the drafters of the Nigerian structure usually are not unsure, once they confer with the proposed modification as an Act. An Act of the Nationwide Meeting can solely grow to be legislation after presidential assent as clearly said in our legal guidelines. The language of Part 9(2) doesn\’t in any approach obviate the President from the modification course of.”