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Constitution amendment: NASS joint c’ttee harmonise alteration today

By Clifford Ndujihe

BARRING unforeseen hitches, the joint Harmonisation Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives will, today, hammer out grey areas in the second alteration to the 1999 Constitution, they separately passed last week.

The Senate and the lower house, on October 27, set up the committee to harmonise the two versions of the Constitution (Second Alteration) Bill 2010, they passed last Wednesday.

Although, there are few differences in the amendments passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly, the harmonisation is to produce one document that would be sent to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for ratification.

A member of the Joint Harmonisation Committee, Senator Sola Akinyede, told Vanguard on phone yesterday that the panel will meet today to iron out the differences.

Asked when the committee would turn in a clean copy of the passed bill, Akinyede said: “We have not yet met. We will meet tomorrow (today) on the issue.”

C’ttee members

Headed by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP, Cross River), the committee also has Senators Dahiru Umar, Ikechukwu Obiorah, Sola Akinyede, Abubakar Sodangi and Idris Umar. All of them are PDP members.

From the House are Deputy Chief whip, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal (PDP Sokoto) as chairman; John Kalipa (PDP Rivers), Nkeiruka Onye-jeocha (PDP, Abia); Razak Adewusi (PDP, Ogun), Ahmed Musta-pha and Sadiq Abubakar.
While raising the panel, Senate President, David Mark, said: “What is passed in the House is different from what we passed. This committee is to harmonise it.”

Amendments
The Senate voted on 10 clauses and passed the bill providing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, new time lines for the conduct of elections and allowing the Supreme Court to handle governorship election petition cases.
It also provided for the conduct of elections for National Assembly, state Houses of Assembly, President and governorship elections not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days to expiration of the incumbents’ tenure of office.


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