Halt constitution review, governors tell speakers
Governors have asked speakers of the 36 Houses of Assembly to halt their consideration of amendments to the 1999 Constitution till next month following “irreconciliable differences” in four areas.
The speakers offered to stay action on only two of the four items.
An 18-man joint panel has been raised to resolve the dispute.
Governors in the panel are Rauf Aregbesola(Osun); Nasir El-Rufai(Kaduna); Aminu Tambuwal(Sokoto); Nyesom Wike(Rivers); Dave Umahi(Ebonyi); Rotimi Akeredolu(Ondo); Abdulfatah Ahmed(Kwara); Ben Ayade(Cross River) andHassan Dankwabo(Gombe).The speakers selected are Adeyemo Adesina (Oyo),. Ahmed Marafa Guni(Niger), Chikwendu Kanu. (Abia) and Kabiru Mijinyawa (Adamawa).Others are Onofiok Luke (Akwa Ibom), Mrs Rita Maduabu (Anambra) Alhaji Kawuwa Damina Shehu (Bauchi) and Terkimbi Ikyange (Benue)
The areas of disagreement are:
- Autonomy for Local Government Councils
- Abrogation of State Joint Local Government Accounts (JAAC)
- Financial autonomy for Houses of Assembly
- Critical amendment to facilitate fast dispensation of cases at the Supreme Court and other courts; election petition, front loading of briefs on jurisdiction etc.It was learnt that although the governors and the speakers met in Abuja on Tuesday, there were concerns that some Houses of Assembly might still go ahead to endorse the four controversial components of the constitution amendments.A top source said: “The governors have discovered that about 11 to 12 State Houses of Assembly have passed resolutions on the acceptance of the four issues.“Following fears that if the State Houses of Assembly might use the two-thirds tyranny to uphold the four proposed amendments, the governors have directed the Speakers to halt further consideration of the amendments to 1999 Constitution till the Joint Committee of the two parties complete its assignment in January 2018.A Speaker, who spoke in confidence, said: “We told the governors that we will not reverse the decisions of the Houses of Assembly that have concurred with the National Assembly on the four controversial amendments.“While we agreed to be part of the Joint Committee with the governors, we said we will stay action on the four amendments till we hear from the governors on why they objected to financial autonomy for Local Governments, autonomy for State Houses of Assembly and abrogation of State Joint Local Government Accounts(JAAC).“We are insisting that these four amendments are in the interest of the people of this country. We are leaving the governors to the public to come up with their own alternatives.“By January, we will know where we are going. We will tolerate these governors and if they are adamant, it may result into a stalemate. This means that the ongoing constitution amendments may be aborted.“Why will the governors oppose autonomy for Houses of Assembly? Will their opposition not affect the principle of separation of power?”