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Aondoakaa, Reps differ on constitution review

*AS Iwu accuses PDP, other parties of electoral malpractises

By Tordue Salem

ABUJA  – The Constitution review exercise in the National Assembly took off on a stormy note yesterday as the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa (SAN) and the House of Representatives disagreed on the method to overhaul the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

The Attorney General’s advice was that a “A Bill for An Act to Alter the Provisions of 1999 Constitution” should be considered first, before other Bills, so as not to offend the 1999 Constitution, the House on the other hand thought otherwise.

Besides, the debate on rigging also assumed a new pedestal, as the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition parties of “thuggery, rigging” and other vices associated with elections in the Country.

Whereas the House insisted on considering 5 Executive Bills brought to it, before taking the Bill to Alter the Constitution, the Chief Law officer of the Country, differed, insisting that it will be illegal to approach it that way.

“First let me recognise the zeal with which the House is considering the need to amend the 1999 Constitution, but with due respect to honourable members, the proposed starting point should be to alter the 1999 Constitution first, before taking the Bills, because if the 1999 Constitution is not amended before the other Bills, it will amount to an illegality”, Aondoakaa said.

He advised the Committee to include a clause on independent candidature, but recommend a fee to be paid by anybody running for any political office, without a platform.

Though, a member of the Committee, Rep. Ita Enang faulted him on the recommendation, Aondoakaa submitted that the technicality of Enang’s argument on independent candidacy was no longer admissible in law, as “sunstantal justice” had replaced it.


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