By Jonathan Ugbal and Ushang Ewa
The Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly, Honorable John Lebo (PDP, Abi) has congratulated president Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the law giving financial autonomy to the state legislature and judiciary.
Mr. Lebo who is also the secretary of adhoc committee of speakers conference on constitutional amendment said the President has given verve to the development of the Nigerian constitutional democracy, moving it away from the long reign of political democracy to the new order of liberal democracy.
A statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Azogor Ideba quotes him a saying that: “The assent will give new legislative direction and institutional focus to the houses of assembly in Nigeria and new lease of life and vibrancy to the judiciary across the country.
“The new constitutional provision will institutionalise the separation of powers and enhance checks and balance within the democratic space.”
He added that the signing of the alterations made the effort that he and his colleagues, members of the national assembly and indeed citizens and stakeholders put into the constitution amendment process worthwhile and wished the president more wisdom in handling issues of national importance.
The Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on national assembly matters (Senate), Ita Enang, had told State House Correspondents on Friday that the President assented to four bills including that granting autonomy to state legislature and judiciary.
He said that: “I just want to inform you that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari today assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill which grants financial autonomy and independence to the houses of assembly of the respective states and to the judiciary of the respective states.
“Therefore upon this signature, the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary are to be now be paid directly to the judiciary of those states, no more through the governors and no more from the governors and then the amounts standing to the credit of the houses of assembly of the respective states are now to be paid directly to the houses of assembly of that state for the benefit of the legislators and the management of the states houses of assembly.
“This grants full autonomy now to the judiciary at the state level and the houses of assembly at the state level.”
Also bill numbers 9, 16 and 21 were assented to Mr. Enang said.
On bill number 21, he said that: “There is another of the act which has come into force today is Constitution amended number 21 which relates to the determination of pre-election matters.
“It has reduced the date and time of determining pre-election matters to ensure that pre-election matters in court do not get into the time of the elections and do not pend thereafter. The relevant sections of the Constitution had also been amended by this act, therefore amending the Constitution.”
Explaining bill number 16, Mr. Enang averred that: “The other one is Act or Bill number 16 which is now an act and the intent of that act is to ensure that where a Vice President succeeds the president and where a deputy governor succeeds a governor, he can no more contest for that office more than once more.
“And the fact is that having taken the oath as President once, and you can only contest for once again and no more. That is the intent of this amendment.”
Meanwhile, bill number 9 elongated the time the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has to organize bye elections where necessary.
And Enang further explained this and averred that when the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ law is added, the President has assented to five bills so far.
He stated that: “The other amendment is Bill number 9 now an act which gives the Independent National Electoral Commission sufficient time to conduct bye elections.
“It has increased the number from seven to 21 days and generally widened the latitude of the Independent National Electoral Commission to handle election matters upon vacancy occuring.
“Therefore these four bills adding to the Not Too Young To Run Act have now been assented by Mr. President and have now become laws.
“Then the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended are hereby further amended by the assent of Mr President to these bills today.
“This allows the state houses of assembly to operate like the national assembly does because the national assembly does not get its from the executive.”
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.