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Nigeria:Independent Candidacy suffers set back


Thee Imo State House of Assembly has rejected the alteration of section 106 and 107 of the Constitution dealing with independent candidature in an election.

The Assembly also disapproved the amendment of Section 5 and 131 which deals with educational qualification of a presidential candidate in an election. The unanimous decision was reached after voting of the members on the approval of a bill for an act to alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, pursuant to section 9, subsection 2 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The Speaker, Chief Goodluck Opiah, later thanked Imo citizens for their contributions towards the constitution amendment. He also expressed gratitude to the members who were recalled from their holiday for the purpose of the amendment. A copy of the bill was sent to the National Assembly.

Also the Assembly approved the three nominees of the state government as members of the state Judicial Service Commission. They are Justice Jonas Iwuagwu; one time Vice Chancellor of Imo State University, Prof. Thomas Ndubuizu; and Chief Nkem Nwankwo.

Speaking during a motion on adjournment, member representing Nwangele State Constituency, Amaechi Nwoha, commended the National Assembly for the opportunity given to state assemblies to make input in the constitution amendment.
He suggested that the next constitution amendment should start from page one with all the state Assemblies involved in making inputs.

He lamented that the amendment ought not to have been adopted because it does not capture the pressing issues bothering Nigerians, like the issue of state creation.

“In theory, we are running a federation but in practice what we have is unitary government”, stating that the American constitution which Nigeria tries to emulate often undergo amendment.

Nwoha expressed disappointment on the N10 billion alleged to have been mapped out for the independence celebration and called on President Goodluck Jonathan to cut down the spending to tackle the poverty in the country.

Meanwhile, the Benue State Assembly has voted against the inclusion of independent candidature in the new constitution.
16 members voted against the provision for independent candidature in the Constitution and the nation’s electoral process as reflected in sections 65 (2)(b) of the harmonized version of the amended constitution, while 10 members voted for the inclusion of the clause.

Speaker of the Assembly, Terseer Tsumba, who presided over the Committee of the Whole House, urged members to uphold the virtues of nationalism and selflessness in their individual and collective contributions to the exercise.
Tsumba described the process as a momentous event in the life of the nation, pleading with the lawmakers to consider the clauses in the interest of the generality of the people.

Leading the debate on the amendment process, Dr. Tsetim Ayagwer representing Gwer State constituency regretted that due to time constraint, members were being stampeded into taking decisions on the matter.

He urged them to positively make inputs into the making of a new constitution for the nation.
Contributing to the debate, former Majority Leader of the Assembly, Mr. Hyacinth Nyakuma, noted that the work on the harmonized version of the amended constitution posed a lot of challenges to members.

He pointed out that it would do the country a lot of good if modalities were put in place to ensure periodical amendment of the nation’s constitution in order to effectively check whatever lacuna that might arise in the future.

However, other clauses in the harmonized document got the nod of the Assembly without any encumbrances.
Meanwhile, the House adjourned its sitting to the next day when it is expected to adopt the votes and proceedings of Tuesday and thereafter send its position back to the National Assembly.

Also Jigawa State House of Assembly has rejected the inclusion of any provision for an Independent candidacy in the newly amended constitution for the executive and legislative seats at both Federal and state levels.

The House in its resolution during a debate for the constitutional amendment, at its sitting yesterday, explained that there should be no independent candidates for the office  of a President,  Governor, members of the National Assembly as well as that of a state Assembly .

Also,  sections 68 and 109   aimed at liberalizing the political space and allow for the exercise of fundamental right of freedom of association was rejected by the law makers.

In its resolution, the House also kicked against the idea of transferring of the training and use of thugs by political parties, the auditing of the books and accounts of political parties by INEC, internal democracy within political parties and funds of political parties to Electoral Act from the Constitution as proposed in sections 222 to 228.

Also rejected was item 56 of the exclusive legislative list in the second schedule that allows for establishing laws for the formation and regulation of political parties.

Addressing reporters shortly after the House’s sitting, the Speaker, Alhaji Adamu Ahmad, said the  state Assembly kicked against the independent Candidacy for President, Governor, National and or state Assembly elections because there is no justification for doing so in view of the large number of registered political parties.

“With over 50 registered political parties in place, inclusion of independent candidates will further confuse the voters during election, hence there is no need for independent candidate”, he declared.

The Speaker further explained that, the House also rejected the minimum education qualification because certificates does not matter in individual intelligence and fore sight, advancing that many politicians in the past have served the people better than those with higher qualifications.