AWKA — Anambra State House of Assembly today during its plenary, passed the 5th alteration bill sent by the National Assembly, in line with the provisions for a constitutional amendment. The 5th Alteration Bill is the 5th amendment of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which bill passed in the National Assembly in March 2022, is undergoing consideration in various state Houses of Assembly so as to effect the amendment in the constitution, after two/third majority or twenty-four Houses of Assembly has passed the amendments.
Some of the amendments passed include the financial autonomy of the legislature and the judiciary. The amendment also seeks to recognize local government as the third tier of government in Nigeria’s federal structure. This means independence of the local government as a level of government, just like the state and central government. Other provisions of the 5th amendment are; the recognition of basic education as a free and fundamental right of all Nigerians, correction of some errors in the name of some local government areas, that ‘resolutions’ of the legislature shall be legally binding, and also that formal invitation of the legislature shall be legally binding, among others.
However, while all amendments contained in the 5th alteration sent by the National Assembly were passed without argument, two major areas were issues of concern raised by Hon. Nonso Okafor who represents Nnewi North constituency and Hon. Noble Igwe of Ogbaru 1 constituency. Those two issues were the major points of divergence which stirred arguments but were still passed at the end.
Hon. Nonso Okafor noted that in the part where the amendment changed “Federation” to “Federal Government” as custodian of resources, Hon. Nonso Okafor argued convincingly that federation and federal government are not the same, hence the amendment might have given the federal government sole power over the resources of the federation. The amendment further provided that the Accountant General of the Federation shall be distinct from the Accountant General of the Federal Government of Nigeria, who shall be appointed without National Assembly scrutiny.
On his part, Hon. Noble Igwe observed that the 20% signature requirement from an independent candidate, to be able to fly for the elective position they are contesting is not feasible. In both instances, the debate was robust, but in the end, the House resolved and passed the 5th amendment as presented by the National Assembly.
After detailed considerations, the motion for the adoption of the 5th alterations was moved by Hon. Nnamdi Okafor, the Majority Leader of the House and seconded by Hon. Ejike Okechukwu, and was passed. In all, there were sixty-six alterations in the 5th amendment and when passed by the requisite number of state Assembly for a constitutional amendment, all alterations will effectively become constitutional.
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