BY JESUTEGA ONOKPASA
With utmost respect, the difference between ‘all the members’ and ‘the members’ can only exist as a figment of the imagination of an incompetent interpreter of law.
Indeed, that the Constitution uses the phrase ‘the members’ with respect to the removal of the Senate President or his deputy or the Speaker or his deputy, as opposed to the phrase: ‘all the members’ that is used elsewhere in the Constitution, does not, in law, mean that a sitting of the Senate or House of Representatives that manages to form a quorum can then go ahead to remove the leadership by 2/3rds majority.
Having formed a quorum, such sitting must further be attended by such numbers of members that the number of those voting in favour of removal adds up to 2/3rds of the entire membership of either House. So for the removal of the Senate President or his deputy, for instance, you would at the very least require 73 senators sitting and all 73 of them voting to impeach!
In law, both phrases ‘all the members’ and ‘the members’ mean one and the exact same thing. Since in ordinary standard English, ‘the members’ has the same meaning as ‘all the members’ as opposed to ‘some of the members’, imputing any difference in meaning between the two is entirely superficial and turns more on the professional incompetence and inadequacy in use of English language on the part of the person claiming the existence of such difference in meaning than on any even remote actual difference residing therein.
If the Constitution had intended that the phrase ‘the members’ should mean anything less than the totality of the membership of either House, it would have specifically said so. As such, in the strict contemplation of law, the difference between ‘all the members’ and ‘the members’ does not exist at all.
Onokpasa, a lawyer, wrote from Warri.