Amendment: All You Need To Know About The Recent Changes To The Nigerian Constitution

Nigerian Senate has voted in favour of the 1999 Constitution amendment.
These amendments would signify the most drastic changes to the law
since the advent of constitutional democracy in Nigeria.
of the most significant outcomes of the amendment was the Senators
voting against devolving more powers to the State Governments. Using
electronic voting, 48 of 95 Senators present voted against the proposal.

Here are highlights of the 33 major amendments to the Nigerian constitution.
About 95 senators were present for Wednesday’s session.

  • The
    Senate voted to abrogate State-LG joint accounts, and guarantee
    existence of democratically constituted LGAs. This will guarantee a fair
    amount of Autonomy to Local Governments and prevent the current
    practice that has seen State Governors emasculate the 3rd Tier of Government
  • The Senate also voted to reject devolution of power to states.
    Senator Adamu Aliero, a former Governor of Kebbi State argued it should
    not stand without reviewing the revenue sharing formula to give more
    money to states. This is a huge set-back to the now vociferous clamour
    for restructuring and reduction of power at the center.
  • The Senate voted to expand Council of states to include former NASS
    presiding officers. The council of State is an advisory organ consisted
    mostly of Former Presidents, this has now been expanded to include
    former heads of the National Legislature
  • Senators vote to ensure ministerial nominees sent to it include
    their portfolios and are sent within 30 days of inauguration of the
    president and of governors for states. This will ensure that the delay
    by the present administration to set up its team never occurs again.
  • Senate
    voted to empower INEC to deregister political parties over failure to
    secure an elective seat. Gone are the days of having Political parties
    on paper, if you can’t win an elective position, what’s your use?
  • Senate rejects 35 per cent affirmative action for women as ministers
    as well as 20 per cent for women as commissioners in states. This is
    really a sad day for gender equality. This means the President or
    Governor is not bound by law to have a gender balanced cabinet.
  • Senate votes to support independent candidacy during elections. This
    implies that you don’t need to belong to a political Party to contest
    elections. What a relief!
  • Senate votes to change the name of the Nigeria Police Force. The
    “force” has been removed; we still don’t know how that translates to
    better policing.
  • Senate votes to support single term for President and Governors. The
    bill is also seeking the restriction of ‎a President or Governor who
    completes the tenure of another from contesting again after winning an
    election. Simply put, no second term for President Buhari, and neither can Goodluck Jonathan run for office. Sounds like a breath of fresh air is coming.
  • Senate votes to support separation of the office of Attorney General
    of Federation from that of the Minister of Justice. Seeing the conflict
    of interests it has created over the years, this is a welcome
  • Senate
    votes to support a time limit for pre-election matters to be resolved
    in court. We hope this leads to speedy election dispute resolution.
  • Senate votes in support of reduction of age qualification for the
    offices of the president, lawmakers, and governors. You can now run for
    President at the age of 35 and 30 for the office of governor. This
    massive boost for the #NotTooYoungToRun Campaign that has been clamoring
    for a sit for Youths at the table.
  • Senate votes to remove NYSC, Land Use, PCC, NSA Acts from the constitution to make them flexible for regular amendment.

NOTE: Approval by the Senate is just one of the steps required
for constitutional amendment. It is not a final step. Amongst others,
Ascent by the President is still required.

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