Senate proposes life pension for its leaders, cuts powers of presidents, governors

Nigerian Senate: Strengthening the law against rape

The Senate will still deliberate the proposals.

The Senate president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and their deputies, would be entitled to life pensions once they quit office; and presidents and governors, as well their deputies, will no longer be eligible for twin four-year terms, according to constitution amendment proposals submitted by a Senate review committee Wednesday.

Under the law, a single six-year term will replace the current double four-year terms for chief executives; but serving president and vice, Goodluck Jonathan and Namadi Sambo, and serving governors, will not be eligible for the provision.

However, Senate President David Mark, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; as well Speaker Aminu Tambuwal and deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, will be the first beneficiaries of the life pension, provided they are not impeached from office.

The current 1999 constitution only allows life pension for the president and vice.

The far-reaching recommendations proposed by a review committee headed by Mr. Ekweremadu are far from becoming laws as they are yet to be debated and approved by the senate plenary, concurred by the House of Reps and assented to by at least 24 state Houses of Assembly.

But the proposals detail sweeping changes to Nigeria’s law books that if all approved, will touch on nearly all key sections of the executive, legislature and the judiciary arms of government.

The senate’s submission will be considered when the chamber resumes from a two-week break, and the House said it will receive and debate its report when it reconvenes.

The senate committee said the single term clause was necessary for chief executives, to deal with the “distraction” often associated by re-election bids.

“Considering the financial expenses often associated with the re-election and to ensure that executive heads are freed from the distractions to be able to concentrate on public policy issues, a provision for a single term of six years for president and governors is made,” Mr. Ekweremadu said.

The committee’s review focused on limiting the often overbearing powers of presidents and governors.

Under the new constitution, governors will no longer be able to control local government funds or refuse elections at the third tier as the shared account between local governments and states will be abolished to allow local governments to receive direct payments from the consolidated account.

Benefiting councils will be those democratically elected, a stipulation that targets governors’ penchant for foisting caretaker committees on the councils for years without elections.

The law also separates the office of the Attorney General of the Federation from that of the Minister of Justice, with provisions that insulate the Attorney General from the influence of the president.

If passed, federal attorney general, as well as states’, will have powers to order investigations.

The attorneys general will serve for seven years single term maximum and funding to that office will be drawn on first line charge- not subject to the appropriation of the National Assembly or respective state assemblies.

Under the proposed constitution, while the president and governors retain their rights to sign or withhold their assents to bills coming from the national or state assemblies, such discretion must be communicated to the respective legislature within 30 days otherwise, the passed bill becomes law automatically.

The provisions also detail clear procedures for a vice president or a deputy governor to succeed a late president or one incapable of taking the oath or discharging the requirements of the office- an effort targeted at avoiding a repeat of the controversies of the late Umaru Yar’Adua presidency and the transition to President Jonathan.

The senate said under exigencies of death, incapacitation, or others, the vice president or deputy governors will ascend to power and complete the term, but will no longer be qualified to stand for election to the office of the president or governor.

If such provision had been in place, President Jonathan would be ineligible for election in 2015.

The review also replaces the word “Force” in the Nigerian Police Force wit “Service”.

The president’s powers were further nipped with the establishment of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Abuja, an office that will be independent of the president and will be elective.

Offices to benefit from first line charge funding, also rose from the present three-National Assembly, Independent National Electoral Commission, and the Courts – to include Attorney-General of the Federation; Auditor-General of the Federation; Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal, Commission; and National Human Rights Commission; efforts directed at stripping the offices of influence of the president.


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  • Dave

    A group of greedy, selfish and self-serving hawks!!!!

  • K.A

    Oh, what a bunch of self-centered crooks, even after allocating and misappropriation millions of Naira of allowances to yourselves, what a pity if truly this news is real.

  • igbiki

    Are these people in the kindergarten or did they smoke something?

    These men are at best basically a bunch of fools masquarading as law makers or at worst just a bunch of clowns trying to do Mr Jonathans Bidding.

    • Es3

      Igbiki,
      Reforms are always hard meat to chew, especially when we are so used to the “currently obtained” (status quo)!
      Which Jonathan bidding are they doing? All 109 Senators doing Jonathan’s bidding, or that they are now seeing the merits in things Jonathan proposed for changes after shouting them down earlier with abuses in tow?!!! I’m not Jonathan but I have been asking for single tenor for Presidents and Governors ever since – especially after my study revealed the true cost of 2nd term ambitions on Nigeria and Nigerians and as not worthy of such damages! A good example here is Amaechi in Rivers who only attempted to perform during his first term only and completely lost focus just before and after winning a 2nd term!!! Another is the violence that follows 2nd term ambitions that I and my whole family (wife and children) mistakenly drove into one once while passing through a state by road, that only God spared our lives!
      I have also been pushing for independent candidacy which they are yet to wake up to!!! This would have weakened the grip and monoploy of political parties in our political space as truely popular candidates would contest and win elections to govern free of party constraints?!
      Or is it the vice-like grip that governors have on local governments and the reign of terror they display in many states across the country where elected chairmen are suspended or removed from office with an individual’s fiat? A case in point again here Amaechi who suspended Patience Jonathan’s LG chairman for going to welcome her during a visit to her hometown last year and the Obio/Akpor LG where he removed the chairman before remembering to go and get the rubber stamp of the State House of Assembly!!! LGs literally beg for funds when the constitution recognises them as an official level of government?!
      We can continue unendingly, but I will stop here for now!

      • igbiki

        I just want the best for Nigeria, not the best for Amechi, not the best for Jonathan and not the best for Patience Jonathan.

        For all I care, the three of them are just plain parasites and ex president Gbagbo is a perfect example of what might happen to anyone of them.

        Or Charles Taylor.

        Back to where we started, the clowns at the National Assembly wants to exclude Mr Jonathan from the very job he sent them to do for him.

        The next fight is about to start, notwithstanding the one currently ongoing with Amechi and Wamakko

  • emmanuel

    This nation is doomed for destruction!

    A time is coming when our budget would only service past leaders pension. Then it would be like Syria, destruction without and end!

    The best thing to do now is for everyone to abandon
    Any other career, seek an office for 4 years and get pension for life. I am sure that election would become killing field soon like it has never been before

    • callit

      Our nation is not doomed but we should pray the those bills are not brought into law.

  • PEOPLE

    OUR LAWMAKERS ARE THE BIG CRIMINALS WE HAVE IN NIGERIA.

  • PEOPLE

    IT IS BETTER TO DIVIDE NIGERIA BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. NIGERIA CANNOT DEVELOP WITH THIS TYPE OF PEOPLE. LET EVERYBODY GO AND MANAGE HIS

  • Monica

    May the proposed bill never see the light of day. May they not live to benefit from this wicked, God-forsaken, cursed scheme called a bill. Whether these wicked men and women like it or not, a day is coming in this Nation(Nigeria) that the Egyptians (Corrupt leaders in Senate & House of Assembly, Corrupt Governors & Presidents) we see noe, we shall see no more. Nigeria is the Lord’s and soon their cup of wickedness and corrupt practices will be full and then…Judgement!