By Samson Osagie

 

Introduction

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has undergone various amendments since its enactment in 1999. The primary function and purpose of a constitution is to set suitable principles to govern the operations and interrelationships between and among the organs and institutions of government. The functionality of the constitution is of great importance as it is first objective is to protect various individuals’ right and freedom and to establish the structure of the government.

The authority to amend the constitution is derived from Section 9 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended). This section in subsections (2) and (3) clearly outlined the procedures for such amendments.

However, it is important to note that as society evolves constantly it embraces changes and developments which makes it necessary for certain changes to be made to its organic laws to reflect the realities. Where that becomes the case, then the need for amending or creating new laws to fit into that purpose arises.

Note that the President, as at 17th July, 2018 assented to 5 of the 15 Constitution Alteration Bills that were transmitted by the National Assembly after its passage and subsequent adoption by at least 24 State Houses of Assembly. The Constitutional alteration Bills assented to so far are:

  • Financial autonomy for state legislatures – Fourth Alteration, No. 4
  • Political parties and electoral matters – Fourth Alteration, No.
  • Restriction on tenure of the President and Governor – Fourth Alteration, No. 16
  • Determination of pre-election matters – Fourth Alteration, No. 21
  • Reduction of age for elective offices – Fourth Alteration, No.

This paper seek to analyze the 15 Constitutional Alterations/Amendments Bills approved by the 8th National Assembly, termed, Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration) Act, 2017, Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 24, 27 and 28 respectively.

 

Fourth Alteration, (No. 2) Act, 2017: Authourisation of Expenditure (1)

This provides for the maximum period under which expenditure shall be made from the previous budget before the passage of a new budget from six months to three. Its objective is to reduce the maximum period that a President or Governor may authorize the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in the absence of an Appropriation Act; it reduced the period from six months to three months. Section 82 which previously states:

“if the appropriation bill in respect of any financial year has not being passed into law by the beginning of the financial year, the president may authorize the withdrawal of monies from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the government of the federation for a period not exceeding six months or until the coming into operation of the appropriation act, whichever is the earlier;

Provided that the withdrawal in respect of any such period shall not exceed the amount authorized to be withdrawn from the consolidated revenue fund of the federation under the provisions of the appropriation act passed by the national assembly for the corresponding period in the immediately preceding financial year, being an amount proportionate to the total amount so authorized for the immediately preceding financial year.”

The underlined provisions of this section of the Principal Act is altered by –

  1. Substituting for the word, “six”, in line 5, the word, “three”; and
  2. Deleting in line 5 and 6, the words “or until the coming into operation of the appropriation act whichever is earlier:”

Synonymously, similar alterations are reflected in Section 122 of the Principal Act which is directed at the State Government.

The intent of the draftsman on the above stated amendment is to cure the recurrent problem of late budget presentation and passage. With reference to paragraph “b” of the above amendment, deleting, “or until the coming into operation of the appropriation act, whichever is” will in fact reduce corruption and improve accountability.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 4) Act 2017 – Financial Autonomy for State Legislature

This amendment corresponds to an existing provision for the National Assembly under section 81 (3) of the current provisions. This Bill seeks to insulate the Legislature from external interferences that might jeopardize its independence, by providing funding of the Houses of Assembly of states directly from the consolidated Revenue Fund of the State. The Provision of the Principal Act is reproduced below. Section 121 (3):

“Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned”.

The principal act is altered by substituting for subsection (3) a new subsection “(3)” – thus;

“(3) Any amount standing to the credit of the –

  • House of Assembly of the state; and
  • Judiciary;

In the consolidated revenue fund of the state shall be paid directly to the said bodies respectively; in the case of Judiciary, such amount shall be paid directly to the heads of the courts concerned”.

In line with the above alteration, the Section 121 (3), embodies a certain independence on the Houses of Assembly of States and the Judiciary by paying directly to these bodies. This will encourage and maximize the effectiveness of the above named bodies when implemented. This Bill was assented to by Mr. President.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 5) Act 2017 – Distributable Pool Account

This proposed amendment seeks to nullify State Joint Government Accounts and empower each Local Government Council to maintain a special account to be called Local Government Allocation Account into which all allocations due to the Local Government Council shall be directly paid from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State. Prior to the proposed amendment, Section 162, in Subsection (6) of this section, an account established by the Federal government, a joint state government account for local governments of each state, that is to say that for instance, a state with the total of 23 local government, all 23 local government of the state operates and depends on a single account.

The effect of this includes corruption, limitation of funds for local government personalized projects, underdevelopment of the state, inaccessibility of funds to certain local government, state government control of funds as the case may be, the list is unending. Section 162 is reproduced below for easy comprehension;

  • The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” in to which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
  • The President, upon the receipt of the advice from the

Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, shall table before the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density:

Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.

  • Any amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account shall be distributed among the Federal and State Governments and the local government councils in each State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
  • Any amount standing to the credit of States in the Federation Account shall be distributed among the State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
  • The amount standing to the credit of local government councils in the Federation Account shall also be allocated to the States for the benefit of their local government

councils of the State from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.

  • Each State shall maintain a special account to be called “State Joint Local Government Account” into which shall be paid all allocations to the local government councils of the State from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.
  • Each State shall pay to local government councils in its area of jurisdiction such proportion of its local revenue on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
  • The amount standing to the credit of local government councils of a State shall be distributed among the local government councils of that State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State.
  • Any amount standing to the credit of the judiciary in the Federation Account shall be paid directly to the National Judicial Council for disbursement to the heads of courts established for the Federation and the States under Section 6 of this
  • For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, “revenue” means any income or return accruing to or derived by the Government of the Federation from any source and includes –
  • any receipt, however described, arising from the operation of any law
  • any receipt, however described, arising from or in respect of any property held by the government of the Federation;
  • any return by way of interest on loans and dividends in respect of shares or interest held by the Government of the Federation in any company or statutory.

The proposed alteration which is a substitution of the entire Section 162 has some notable improvements which will be beneficial to the government and the people, if adopted. It is reproduced below;

  1. (1) The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation, except the proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the armed forces of the Federation, the Nigeria Police, the Ministry or department of government charged with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
  • The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission shall table before the National proposals for revenue allocation from the Federation Account, and in determining the formula, the National Assembly shall take into account, the allocation principles especially those of population, equality of States, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density;

Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than thirteen per cent of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.

  • Any amount standing to the credit of the Federation Account shall be distributed among the Federal and State Governments and the Local Government Councils in each State on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.
  • Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, ten percent of any amount paid into the Federation Account shall be deducted and saved in a separate account prior to the distribution to the respective levels of government and shall be held on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
  • The amount standing in the Federation Account being savings shall not be distributed to the respective levels of government until at least five years from the date it was so saved.
  • Any amount standing to the credit of the States and local Government Councils in the Federation Account shall be distributed among the States and Local Government Councils on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
  • Each local Government Council shall maintain a special account to be called “Local Government Council Allocation Account” into which shall be paid directly such allocation to the Local Government Council from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.
  • Each State shall pay to Local Government Councils in its area of jurisdiction such proportion of its internally generated revenue on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly.
  • The House of Assembly of each State shall by law prescribe such portion of the money allocated to the State and its Local Government Council from the Federation Account to be used for the purpose of payment of salaries of primary school teachers and such other purposes as it may determine
  • For the purpose of subsection (9), the Federation Account Allocation Committee shall deduct and remit the salaries of primary school teachers to a body as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of each ”

The special account called the “Local Government Allocation Account” will contain all allocations due to the Local Government Council and will be funded from the Federation Account and the Government of the State.

The Bill seeks to make provisions for savings in the Federation Account to be deducted and saved in a separate account prior to distribution to respective levels of government.

The House of Assembly of each State is given powers to prescribe the portion of money allocated to its State and Local Government Council from the Federation Account “for payment of salaries of primary school teachers and such other purposes as it may determine”.

Unfortunately, this bill was not assented to, although the NFIU has rolled out guidelines for the protection of Local Government allocations. It needs to be revisited.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 6) Act 2017 – Local Government

This alters the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to strengthen Local Government Administration in Nigeria. It seeks to strengthen local government administration in Nigeria by guaranteeing a system of local government by democratically elected local government councils under the constitution.

It recognizes a democratically elected local government as a tier of government in Nigeria with executive and legislative arms.

It empowers the Houses of assembly of each state to provide for the establishment, election, structure, composition, finance and functions of such Councils. Local Government Councils shall stand dissolved at the expiration of three years, commencing from the date, the members of the Council were sworn in.

There is a provision for independent candidature in the local government council elections.

Below is the provision of the Principal Act and the proposed alterations;

Section 7 (1) The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall subject to Section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.

  • The person authorized by law to prescribe the area over which a local government council may exercise authority shall-
    • define such area as clearly as practicable; and
  • ensure, to the extent to which it may be reasonably justifiable, that in defining such area regard is paid to –
    • the common interest of the community in the area,
    • traditional association of the community, and
    • administrative
  • It shall be duty of a local government council within the State to participate in economic planning and development of the area referred to in subsection (2) of this section and to this end an economic planning board shall be established by a law enacted by the House of Assembly of the
  • The Government of a State shall ensure that every person who is entitled to vote or be voted for at an election to a House of Assembly shall have right to vote or be voted for at an election to a local government
  • The functions to be conferred by Law upon local government councils shall include those set out in the Fourth Schedule to this
  • Subject to the provisions of this Constitution –
    • the National Assembly shall make provisions for statutory allocation of public revenue to local government councils in the Federation; and
    • the House of Assembly of a State shall make provisions for the statutory allocation of public revenue to local government councils within the State,

Alteration of Section 7.-

  • Substituting for subsection (1), a new subsection “(1)”- “(1) The system of Local Government by democratically elected Local Government Councils is under this Constitution guaranteed”
  • inserting, after subsection (1), new subsections “(1A)”-“(1D)”- “(1A) A Local Government Council –
  • not democratically elected shall not be recognized by any authority and person and shall not be entitled to any revenue allocation from the Federation Account or the State Government nor perform any function exercisable by a Local Government Council under this Constitution or any law for the time being in force; and
  • Shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of three years, commencing from the date the members of the Council were sworn in.

(1B)The democratically elected Local Government Council shall be a tier of government in Nigeria and shall consist of executive and legislative arms.

(1C)The House of Assembly of every State shall ensure the existence of democratically elected Local Government Councils under a law which provides for the establishment, elections, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.

(1D)Subject to the provisions of this constitution, a person shall be qualified for election into the Local Government Council if he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party or he is an independent candidate”.

  • Substituting for subsection (5), a new section “(5)” – “(5) In addition to the functions conferred upon

Local Government Councils as specified in the Fourth Schedule to this Constitution, a House of Assembly of a state may by law confer other functions on the Local Government Councils”; and

  • Deleting subsection (6).

Section 318 of the principal act is altered by inserting, in alphabetical order, the following interpretation –

“Bye-law means enactment of a local government council; “Chairman” or “vice chairman” when used with reference to a local government council, means Chairman or vice chairman of the local government council; and “Councilor” means a member of a local government legislative council.”

Part I of the fifth schedule to the principal act in Paragraph (3) by inserting, after the word, “State”, in line 4, the word, “Chairman, Vice Chairman and Councilors of local government Council”

The amendment addresses citizens’ needs by recognizing the position of local government as the third tier in the Federation.

The alteration also seeks to delete Section 7 (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) which provides for the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to make provisions for statutory allocations of public revenue to local governments. This is logical in light of the proposal under Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No 5) Act, 2017 that provides for a Local Government Allocation Account funded from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.

Provision for a Local Government Council tenure with a four year term would have been more consistent with other elections in Nigeria.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 8) Act 2017 – The Legislature

This alters the provisions of the Constitution to provide immunity for members of the legislature in respect of words spoken or written at plenary sessions or at Committee proceedings and institutionalize legislative bureaucracy in the Constitution.

It seeks to prevent civil and criminal proceedings from being instituted against a member of a legislative house in respect of words spoken or written at plenary sessions or Committee proceedings. It also seeks to institutionalize legislative bureaucracy in the Constitution by providing for a National Assembly Service Commission. The provision of the original act states, thus;

4          (7) The House of Assembly of a State shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State or any part thereof with respect to the following matters, that is to say:-

  • Any matter not included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part I of the Second Schedule to this

Section 4 of the principal act is altered by inserting, after subsection (7), a new

subsection “7 (a)”-

“(7a) In the course of exercising the legislative powers, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted against a member of a legislative house in respect of words spoken or written before the house or a committee thereof”

Also, Section 51 of the Constitution is substituted and a new section provided for. The principal Act provides thus;

  1. There shall be a Clerk to the National Assembly and such other staff as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, and the method of appointment of the Clerk and other staff of the National Assembly shall be as prescribed by that tab

Substitute for Section 51 of the Principal Act, a new Section “51”

  1. “ (1) there is established the National Assembly service commission whose composition, Tenure, Structure, Finance, functions and powers shall be as prescribed by an act of the National Assembly.
  • there shall the clerk to the National Assembly and such other staff as may be required
  • the method of appointment of the clerk and such other staff of the national Assembly shall be as prescribed by the commission.”
  1. “(1) The President may attend any joint meeting of the National Assembly or any meeting of either House of the National Assembly, either to deliver an address on national affairs including fiscal measures, or to make such statement on the policy of government as he considers to be of national importance.” Section 67 of the principal act is altered by substituting for subsection “(1)”- “(1) the President-
  • shall attend the joint section of the National Assembly on the first legislative day of the month of May of each year to deliver an address in respect of the state of the Nation; and
  • May attend any joint session of the National Assembly, either to deliver an address on National Affairs including fiscal measures, or to make such statement on the policy of government as he considers to be of National importance.

Alterations to Sections 68, 93 and 109 and the provisions on the Principal Act is reflected below;

  1. “(1) A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if –

(e) Save as otherwise prescribed by this Constitution, he becomes a member of a commission or other body established by this Constitution or by any other law.”

Section 68 (1) (e) of the principal act is altered by inserting, after the word, “law”, in line 3, the word, “except by virtue of office”.

  1. There shall be a Clerk to a House of Assembly and such other staff as may be prescribed by a Law enacted by the House of Assembly, and the method of appointment of the Clerk and other staff of the House shall be as prescribed by that Law.

Substitute for Section 93 of the principal Act, a new Section “93”

  1. “(1) there is established the State House of Assembly service commission whose composition, Tenure, Structure, Finance, functions and powers shall be as prescribed by a law of the House of Assembly of the State.
  • There shall be the clerk to the State House of Assembly and such other staff as may be
  • The method of appointment of the clerk and such other staff of the State House of Assembly shall be as prescribed by the ”

It is noteworthy that legislators already have immunity in respect of words spoken at plenary or at Committee proceedings under the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 1953. However, it has been argued that that the amendments would be better guaranteed under the Constitution as the grund norm of the land. It is also noteworthy that a National Assembly Service Commission already exists, however it is not a constitutionally established body. This provision, in line with the principle of equality of the three arms, seeks to include the Commission in the Constitution similar to the Federal Civil Service Commission and Judicial Service Commission for the executive and judiciary arms respectively.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 9) Act, 2017 – Political Parties and Electoral Matters

This alters the provisions of Sections 134, 179 and 225A of the Constitution to provide the Independent National Electoral Commission with sufficient time to conduct bye-elections and provide grounds for de-registration of political parties. This increases the time frame for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct bye elections in default of a candidate being duly elected in Presidential and Governorship elections from 7 days to 21 days. The Section 134 of the principal Act is altered by substituting “seven” in line 2 with “Twenty-one”, similar changes is reflected in line 2 of subsection 5 of the same section, and Section 179 of the Principal Act for the State Governorship election.

It also provide grounds for INEC to de-register political parties that breach any of the grounds for registration or fail to win either twenty five per cent of votes in a State or Local Government or at least one ward in a Chairmanship election or seat in the National Assembly, State House of Assembly or Councillorship election.

The amendment will give INEC more time to plan the logistics of a bye-election. The Bill further subjects political parties to stringent conditions.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 14) Act, 2017 – Independent Candidature

The alteration in the constitutional provisions in Sections 7, 65, 106, 131, 177, and 228 provides for independent candidature. The Bill allows for independent candidacy in Presidential, Governorship, National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly elections. The requirements for the nomination of an independent candidate shall be subject to an Act of the National Assembly. Prior to the amendment of this Act, the Constitution did not permit independent candidacy, a candidate for the National Assembly, a state house of assembly, governorship or presidency had to be a member of a political party and be sponsored by that party to be eligible to context election. The Alteration Act removes this requirement and allows anyone who is otherwise eligible to run for election to any of these offices as an independent candidate. The bill as it is, will expand on Nigeria’s political space by providing a platform outside political parties, for persons to participate and contest elections.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 15) Act, 2017 – The Nigeria Police Force

The alterations to the provisions of Sections 34 (2) (b), 35 (7) (b), 39 (3) (b), 214 (a) (b), 215 (a) (b), 216 (1), Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution reflects change in the name Nigeria Police Force to “Nigeria Police” to reflect their core mandate of providing civil services.

Overtime, policing in the country has developed and changed, but corruption within its system has continued virtually unabated and largely unchanged in form and format. Rather, it has merely adjusted and adapted to developments in the Nigerian society. However, in spite of the growing rate of corrupt practices perpetrated by the police on daily basis, empirical interests on this subject of concern has continued to wane. The alteration removes the word “Force” from the nomenclature of the Nigeria Police to encourage current efforts by the Nigeria Police to redeem its image.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 16) Act, 2017 – Restriction on Tenure of the President and Governor

This Bill seeks to disqualify a person who was sworn-in as President or Governor to complete the term of the elected President or Governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term.

The relevant amendments is reflected on Sections 137 and 182 of the constitution. In Section 137, a new subsection, subsection (3) is inserted after subsection (2), it reads;

A person who is sworn-in as president to complete the term for which another person was elected as President shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term”.

The purpose of this amendment is to limit the term of any President or Governor to two terms irrespective of whether the President or Governor was elected from the very beginning or took over from a predecessor to complete an already running tenure. This proposal is a response to the controversy and arguments that occurred when former President Jonathan took over and completed late President Yar’adua’s tenure.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 20) Act, 2017 – Submissions from the Judiciary

The Bill seeks to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Sections 233, 237, 241, 243, 246, 247, 250, 267, 281, 282, 291, alteration of the Third Schedule, part II of the third schedule, third alteration No. 3, 2011 and Part I of the Fifth Schedule, to further strengthen the Judiciary for speedy dispensation of Justice.

This Bill makes far-reaching provisions for the judiciary that will expedite the dispensation of justice and reduce the backlog of cases. The Bill provides for the disposition of an application for leave to appeal by three Justices in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, seeks to increase the composition of the Court of Appeal from not less than 49 Justices to not less than one hundred Justices and also provides for not less than twelve justices versed in industrial relations and employment matters in the Court of Appeal. However, extant provisions for 3 Justices learned in Islamic Personal Law and Customary law in the composition of the Court of Appeal or as prescribed by the National Assembly still remain. The Bill also addresses pension rights of retired judicial officers by reducing the period required to activate the claim of pension from fifteen years to ten years. The Bill seeks to aid the administration of the Courts and justice delivery.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 21) Act, 2017 – Determination of Pre-Election Matters

The Principal Act in Section 285 which provided for the establishment and jurisdiction of election tribunal was amended to provide a time frame for the determination of pre-election and related matters. Under the Bill, every pre- election matter must be filed no later than 14 days from the date of the occurrence of the event, decision or action complained of in the suit. It also gives 14 days to appeal a decision given in a pre-election matter from the date of delivery of judgment appealed against. The Bill also contains a provision preventing any election tribunal or court from declaring any person a winner at an election where such person has not fully participated in all stages of the election.

The marginal note was changed from “establishment and jurisdiction of election Tribunal” to now read, “Time for determination of pre-election matters, establishment of Election Tribunals and time for determination of election petitions”.

Also substituting for subsection (8) a new subsection (8) and also new subsections “(9) – (14)”.

The Bill seeks to encourage the speedy adjudication of election petitions. However, enshrining the provision preventing any election tribunal or court from declaring any person a winner at an election where such person has not fully participated in all stages of the election may be controversial.

 

Fourth Alteration, No. 22) Act, 2017 – Consequential Amendment on Civil Defence

This alters the provisions of the Constitution by inserting after Section 213, a new heading “AA – Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps” and under the heading new Sections “213A – 213B” to reflect the establishment and core functions of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps which is a consequential amendment as a result of including the national security and civil defence as an item in the Exclusive Legislative List under the Second Schedule to the Constitution.

The Bill seeks to reflect the establishment and core functions of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the provisions of 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The Bill includes the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as a security agency under the Constitution.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 27) Act, 2017 – Reduction of Age For Elective Offices

The alterations are reflected in Sections 65, 106, and 131 of the Constitution.

On May 31, 2018, the President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law a Bill amending the 1999 Constitution, the implementation of which will lower the minimum age requirements for competing for and holding key elected offices both at federal and state levels.

This Bill reduces the age qualification of the office of the President and membership of the House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly. It reduces the qualifying age for election into the House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years and to a State House of Assembly from 30 years to 25 years. The qualifying age for contesting the office of the President is also reduced from forty to thirty -five years. The Bill encourages the political participation of young persons in elections.

 

Fourth Alteration (No. 28) Act, 2017 – Authorization of Expenditure (2)

This Bill specifies for the President or Governor of a State to present an Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly or State House of Assembly no later than 90 days to the end of a financial year respectively. It also mandates the National Assembly and State House of Assembly to pass the Appropriation Bill before the commencement of the next financial year.

The Bill is commendable as it seeks to encourage early budget presentation and passage by the Executive and Legislative arms respectively. Sections of the Constitution reflective of this alteration are Sections 81 and 121.

 

Conclusion

The Fourth Amendment midwifed by the 8th National Assembly was a most detailed and elaborate exercise carried out with a strategic approach of separating each amendment into different bills. Regrettably, only five of those bills were assented to by the President thus leaving about for reconsideration for the new parliament. Thus, this exercise is apt towards assisting the national assembly set its agenda or constitutional amends.

 

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