Senate votes on constitution amendments today

By Ezrel Tabiowo

The Senate yesterday said that it would carry out voting on the new proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution today, after almost two months of its initial consideration by the upper chamber.
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who made the announcement during plenary yesterday, said there would be a clause by clause voting on the constitutional amendment bill.

The bill which essentially seeks to further alter the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and other matters connected therewith, amongst others, proposes an amendment to Section 9 which deals with how a new constitution could be processed.
Lawmakers, who rejected the new proposal, argued that the clause was a backdoor at legitimising the National Conference, through the National Assembly.

They stressed that a new constitution was unnecessary “because it will further create more problems for the nation’s democracy.”
Ekweremadu, who is also the chairman of the Constitution Review Committee, eventually withdrew the controversial clause from the amendments.
Highlights of the amendments as proposed by the committee were alteration of Sections 68 and 109 to mandate the Clerk of the National Assembly and the clerks of Houses of Assembly to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in writing seven days of the existence of a vacancy arising from death, resignation or defection of a member of the National Assembly or a member of the House of Assembly, respectively.