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.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility


Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.