Gift Joseph Okpakorese
There have been in recent times numerous recommendations put forward in some of the new bills presented by members of the house of assembly.
While some persons may want to claim that the audacity and requirements inscribed in some of the new bills proposed may the House may eventually stand in its way and make it impossible for it to come to fruition, others are strongly of the opinion that it could be possible and have also imagined how this bill could help curb majority of the excesses of the political leadership if it passes all the readings and finally become enacted in the Constitution.
Just recently a bill striving to authorize the national assembly to order the president has gone through the second reading at the House of Representatives.
The constitutional modification bill facilitated by Sergius Ogun from Edo state strives to coerce the president to emerge before the legislators and answer questions on issues of national security and related matters.
The bill further gives authorization to state houses of assembly to invite governors for interrogation under the same circumstances.
However, what the bill did not state clearly, was the punitive measures that could be deployed in instances whereby the bill was disobeyed either by the president or any of the state governors.
Although Ogun, speaking to news sources, The Cable, alluded that if that be the case then it could liken to an impeachable offense. In his words;
“The penalty is not explicitly stated but that could be the case,” he said.
“When something like this is constitutional, if there is an infraction, it becomes impeachable.”
The bill is not devoid of the usual debates and open confrontations amidst the lawmakers with regards to the power and ability of the national assembly to summon the presidency in a matter they deemed fit, which is not being properly handled.
Recalled that an incidence of this kind once occurred in December 2020, whereby President Muhammadu Buhari neglected a summon by the house after Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), said the national assembly has no form of authorization whatsoever to summon the president.
“The right of the president to engage the national assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary to the president and not at the behest of the national assembly,” Malami had insisted.
Meanwhile, at a plenary, legislator Ogun, who is a party member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has remarked that there’s been no allocation in the 1999 constitution, that grants supreme authority to the legislative wing of the federation to call or invite the president or governors on any issue whatsoever.
“You will recall what happened in January when the House summoned President Muhammadu Buhari but he failed to honor the invitation,” he said.
Speaking further on the situation on the ground, he reiterated that it will promote a scenario whereby presidents and governors would be held culpable for issues bothering national security, and other related matters of negligence or responsibilities.
Conclusively the house voted in favour of the bill and was later on shifted to the ad hoc council responsible for the review of the 1999 constitution.