Senator defends Jonathan’s rejection of Constitution Amendment

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Ita Enang, has described President Goodluck Jonathan’s refusal to sign the 2015 round of Constitution Amendment Bill as another act of “statesmanship”.

Mr. Enang said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

He said in spite of the fact that the president’s tenure would end soon, he was magnanimous to point out some anomalies in the bill that necessitated him to withhold his assent.

“Let me for one thing alone, congratulate and appreciate President Goodluck Jonathan. He did not say I am not going to be the President in the next 30 days, let me just assent to it.

“He did not say whatever problem there is, let it be a problem that the Buhari administration will come to face.
“I commend him because he would ordinarily have signed it and say `I wash my hands off’ like Pilate.

“He still puts his thoughts together and said `this I refuse to do on these accounts’.

“To that extent, I commend his honesty, I commend his statesmanship,” he said.

However, Mr. Enang observed that the observations made by the President were coming late as the National Assembly had already passed the bill.

He said that aides of the President ought to have pointed out the observations for amendment at the point of the public hearings.

“At this stage, we have gone through public hearing at different stages and this is a bill that passed through the National Assembly for three years.

“When we had the public hearings, those making these observations did not appear.

“The President did not need to appear but the Attorney-General, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Accountant-General and all the other institutions ought to have appeared,’’ said the lawmaker.

He said in view of the development, the National Assembly would hold close consultations with the President, to look at the observations made and vote on some of them.

The National Assembly on Thursday received a letter from the President, stating his refusal to assent to the Fourth Alteration Bill, 2015, due to some contentious issues.

One of the contentious issues is contained in Section 45 A of the bill.

It guarantees the right to free basic education, which according to the letter is too open ended and should be restricted to government schools.

The president also said a section stipulating the right to free health should indicate that such privilege is available only at government facilities.

The president said some proposals by the Senate and the House of Representatives were clear violation of the doctrine of Separation of Powers.


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  • Ken

    Well done our dear president. GEJ remains our leader yesterday, today and forever!

  • Ab

    Forever my beloved president ,ur name alway makes me feel ,I have someone ,I can always look and have a reason to be called a nigerian .

  • Daniel Ikwuagwu

    While I commend the president for pointing out k of the an omission that ought not to have been in the first place, I want to express my profound disgust at the shoddy work of the national assembly. How could the most paid national assembly in the world present ambiguous proposals to the presidency? And how come it is taking the presidency this long to read it through, matters of great importance to the nation? Food for thought.

    I withdraw my commendation. No favour was done anybody here. Sounds too sycophantic.

  • concerned9ja

    As usual, it boils down to lack of competence on the part of this republic. What were presidency officials, advisers, assistants, ministers and so on doing all these years and refused to point out these anomalies. With all that huge remunerations to the law breakers why did they fail to present a spotless amendment for assent. Maybe like the fight against BH, they were reserving their best to coincide with the election. Thank goodness, Nigerians told these clueless leaders ‘enough is enough’.

    • mitchell

      I think ur comment is out of sentiment and hate.

  • Adoki Achine

    The president kicked against the separation of the office of the attorney-general from the minister for justice. Yet that is one of the key recommendations of the National Conference which the president has been telling everybody that he wanted to implement. Fraudulent people; fraudulent government; fraudulent (ex)president.

  • abc

    I don’t know what is wrong with this dumbs called senators with their leader called Mark, how on earth will you put such clauses in a constitution, Free education, free health care or even free food should only be a policy of govt. or in manifestos of political parties but, not in constitution. What if a state is so broke that cannot afford it. I for long believe that nothing is wrong with Nigerian constitution, if the lawmakers and govt officials sticks to it to the later. If they are serious about Education, health or any sector for that matter, let them pass a law that will see looters of the treasury be hanged or sentenced for life.

  • Fanen Harden

    Indeed!!! Make i seee road pls……….