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Yar’Adua: N-Assembly to amend constitution

By Emeka Mamah

KADUNA — The National Assembly is now poised to amend Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution to ensure smooth transition of power from the President and the 36 state governors to their deputies in case of emergency situations.

Under the proposed amendment, it will amount to an impeachable offence for either the President or a governor to travel outside the country for two weeks without handing over power to their deputies.

Apart from being an impeachable offence, a Vice President or Deputy Governor automatically becomes an acting President or  acting Governor, if his/her principal leaves his duty post for two weeks without handing over power to him or her.

Senate President, David Mark, Tuesday sought the support of the 36 governors in the expeditious amendment of the controversial section of the constitution, but did not give details.

Why the amendment

Sources close to the National Assembly said the two chambers of legislature have agreed on the need for the amendment following the lacuna in the section which nearly cost the nation its hard earned democracy following the inability of President Umaru Yar’Adua to inform the leadership of the National Assembly about his trip to Saudi Arabia for treatment since November 23, last year.

he leadership of the National Assembly was also said to have reasoned that apart from the imbroglio, some state governors have serially abused their positions by travelling for several weeks outside the country and running their states from overseas without handing over to their deputies.

“In some cases, some state governors have even by-passed their deputies and handed over power to the Secretary to the State Governments, SSGs, or commissioners.

“In 2007, a particular governor travelled out of the country and asked his SSG to handover to his successor but this did not happen because, the in-coming governor refused to accept such handover notes.

“This situation was not envisaged by the framers of the 1999 Constitution and we want to use this opportunity of Yar’Adua’s inability to write the National Assembly of his travel for treatment which cost the nation of about 80 days without a leader to solve the problem once and for all,” the sources told Vanguard.


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