Beginning today, January 17, the 2023 legislative calendar, which was paused for the holiday season will reconvene. The federal parliamentarians, whose terms will be coming to an end by early June, are anticipated to start up where they left off last year December.

Prior to the start of the holidays, both chambers passed the 2023 appropriations bill after President Muhammadu Buhari proposed spending N1.32 trillion more than originally estimated, or N20.51 trillion, for the year. The President’s request for a N819.54 billion domestic loan to rebuild flood-damaged infrastructure was also approved by the parliamentarians.

The President’s suggestion to securitize the Federal Government’s outstanding Ways and Means balance at the Central Bank of Nigeria is expected to be revisited by lawmakers as they pick up their legislative agenda.

After President Buhari signs the 2023 Budget and the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Bill into law, the Senate’s president, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said the lawmakers will reevaluate the President’s request. However, Dr. Lawan added that the legislature will only do so based on the information that is adequately available to the relevant legislative committees.

The Constitution Review Process of the Ninth Assembly, which has not yet been completed, will also require the National Assembly to revisit it. In keeping with previous Assemblies, the 9th National Assembly’s legislators made a pledge to Nigerians when they took office in June 2019: to rewrite the offending clauses stifling the nation’s democracy and then provide Nigerians with the result.

44 measures were passed last year after the Senate and House of Representatives both voted on the 68 suggestions put up by their respective ad hoc committees for the review of the 1999 Constitution. Following adoption, the suggestions were sent to the States’ House of Assembly for approval by at least two-thirds of the States, or 24 States, as required by Sections 9(2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution.

Only 11 states had cast votes on the proposed constitutional amendments as of October 2022, though. The states with votes in their houses of assembly include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Ogun, and Osun.

If four more constitutional amendment bills are not taken up by the National Assembly for consideration and passage, the remaining 25 states that have not yet taken up the bills have threatened to do nothing. The four proposals will create the State Police, State Judicial Council, streamline the process for ousting the presiding officers of states’ house of assembly, and codify legislative bureaucracy into the Constitution.

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitutional Review received a letter from the Conference of Speakers outlining their demands.

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the deputy president of the senate, revealed the position of the United States to journalists and accused state governors of attempting to obstruct additional constitutional amendments to the country.

The Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review Chairman, Omo-Agege, termed the state assembly reluctance to vote on the proposals as discouraging and concerning.

Despite stating that the National Assembly is open to acting on any proposed legislation that is duly brought before it, the ranking senator claimed that it is illegal for the Conference of Speakers to use the four measures as payment for passing the 44 other laws.

Late last year, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, backed up Omo-Agege’s assertions that the states’ House of Assembly were impeding efforts to amend the 1999 Constitution.

Gbajabiamila said the ninth National Assembly might not be able to finish the ongoing amendment process before the end of its term. He was speaking in Abuja at the second edition of the distinguished parliamentarian lecture series organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).

The contentious Water Resources Bill, which has repeatedly surfaced in the previous 8th and current 9th assemblies for roughly seven years, is another unresolved matter that the lawmakers are anticipated to discuss.

A small drama played out when worried MPs objected to the Bill’s reappearance before it passed first reading on June 29 in the House of Representatives. Many think that the measure is actually a ruse for Rural Grazing Area (RUGA), which was previously proposed but rejected during the 8th Assembly as a result of public uproar. In particular, the bill aims to give the federal government complete sovereignty over all of the nation’s water resources, including its rivers, streams, lakes, and subterranean water supplies.

A member of the plenary, Hon. Mark Gbillah (PDP, Benue), raised a point of order on June 29 and reminded the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, that the bill caused a lot of controversy in 2021 and shouldn’t be brought back. This was shortly after the Bill was reintroduced and presented by Chairman of the Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina).

In response, Gbajabiamila stated that the sponsor, Hon. Soli, had reassured him that contentious issues in the prior bill that many people had complained about the previous year have been addressed in the new bill.

Share post:




More like this

Labour Party Leader Asks Court to Nullify Tinubu’s election, and Declare Him Winner

Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party...

FEC approves $984.7m for NRC Equipment Maintenance

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), has approved 984.7 million...

WAEC Gives Birth to Another Digital Baby

Within the last two years, the West African Examinations...

Foreign Firms Sued Over Alleged Breach of €1.3m Contract

A Nigerian startup firm, Agriconnekt Services, has petitioned the...