By Jide Ajani
At a time when the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, is raising an alarm about the attempt by the members of the National Assembly to smuggle a clause into the amended version of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Vanguard can reveal that there are strong indications on the part of the legislators to see the inclusion of the clause through.
In a statement issued in Lagos Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the National Assembly has concluded plans to send the amended Constitution containing the contentious regulation of party primaries, party congresses and conventions by the National Assembly to President Goodluck Jonathan for his assent this week, in line with the court ruling to that effect.
According to him,”in what amounts to lawmaking by subterfuge, the National Assembly substituted Section 228 (a) and (b) of the Principal Act for a new Section 228 (a) and (b).
“What the National Assembly has done in effect now is far worse than what Nigerians had cried out against. While the fear has been that the legislators were busy amending the Electoral Act 2010 to serve their narrow and selfish interests, they have indeed over-reached themselves by now including this contentious issue in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, unknown to Nigerians!
“If they succeed in cajoling President Jonathan to sign the amended Constitution, as we learnt he may do since he and the National Assembly are said to have reached an agreement to that effect, then our democracy is in trouble, as the National Assembly will simply turn political parties to its departments and push them around at will, in the name of making laws for the conduct of the parties’ affairs.”