Home News Constitution Amendment: Why Senate Backtracked on Overturning Jonathan’s Veto

Constitution Amendment: Why Senate Backtracked on Overturning Jonathan’s Veto

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By Alex Agbo in Abuja

It emerged on Thursday that the Senate decided to make a u-turn on its decision to overturn President Goodluck Jonathan’s veto on the 4th Constitution Amendment Bill in order to save face.

WESTERN POST can reveal that at the closed-door session held by the Senators on Wednesday, the lawmakers told themselves the bitter truth.

Two of such bitter truths, according to sources, emerged at the Executive session, which lasted about one and a half hours.

One is the fact that since a suit had been instituted by the Presidency on the issue of constitution amendment, the Senate as a law-making and law-abiding body should either challenge the power of the Supreme Court to halt the amendment processes or wait for the outcome of the court case instituted by President Jonathan.

The other is some aspects of the President’s objections to the bill were found to be actually objectionable, one of which is the provision extending the Immunity Clause in Section 308 of the constitution to cover the National Assembly members.

According to WP sources, most of the Senators said at the sitting that, that particular provision emanated from the House of Representatives and that they just knew about it when the President cried out.

The Senate had initially waived aside the Supreme Court injunction asking it to halt the amendment process, saying as a separate arm of government, another arm of government cannot stop it from performing its law-making function.

So, the upper chamber resolved to overturn President Jonathan’s veto on the bill.

But the Senate on Wednesday backtracked on its threat to begin proceedings on overriding the president’s veto.

The decision of the Senate is coming after several billions had been spent on the stalemated constitution amendment.

The President of the Senate, David Mark, said after the closed-door session that senators would not break any law in that regard.

Mark said the lawmakers would take appropriate actions and make sure that democracy survives.

“We are law makers, very senior lawmakers for that matter and we will not break any law. We will do everything to make sure democracy survives,” he said.

But he warned that the Executive should not take National Assembly for granted.

The Supreme Court had last week ruled on a suit filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, seeking to stop the National Assembly from overriding Jonathan’s veto on the Fourth Alteration Bill 2015.

President Jonathan had said the National Assembly did not fulfil some of the conditions precedent for the passage of the amendment, one of which is the requirement of fourth-fifth majority of the National Assembly members, which he doubted was reached in passing the amendments.

He also raised issues about some of the provisions, which he said went into the domain of the Executive powers of the president.

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