Senate Speaker Ahmad Lawan and House Speaker Femi Gbagabyamela appealed to state governors to allow expansion of the 44 Constitution Amendment Bills that have been sent to the House and Senate.
The two lawmakers made the appeal on Monday at the Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture Series 2022 organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democracy Studies (NILDS) in Abuja on Monday.
It should be noted that there is a current standoff between conservatives and federal lawmakers over a state police bill that was rejected by the National Assembly.
Conservatives, who want lawmakers to sign a reconsideration of the police bill, have reportedly given a provision that the state police bill must be reconsidered or the House of States will not proceed with the amendment.
According to the 1999 constitution, bills to amend the constitution must be passed by the National Assembly and must also be passed by the 24 state assemblies, however, the impasse between governors and legislators puts the bills at risk.
Lawan, in his speech, urged Kaduna State Governor Nasir Al-Rifai, who was present at the event, to help put pressure on his colleagues.
He disclosed that the National Assembly has not yet received a response from the state legislature, adding that time is ticking in the process.
“We will ask you to lobby for us. We have sent (to the states) the result of our Constitution review and we have yet to receive everything from the states. Therefore, we should be able to finish this process by getting responses from the state Houses of Representatives.”
“Even if there is a month left, we have the ability to work together to ensure that some of the legislation that is needed is passed in a very speedy way. Lobby your colleagues in the governor for us because I see you are doing it very well.”
Also speaking about the bills, Gbagapyamila said lawmakers are not sure the process can be completed in this House.
He joined the Senate president in pleading with the governors to expedite the process.
This process appears to have now stopped in the State Councils. As it stands today, it is doubtful that the current constitutional amendment efforts will end before this legislative term ends.
“However, the appeal made by the Senate President to Governor Nasser Al-Rifai for the required cooperation from governors in the exercise may bring the process back to life.”
Constitution Amendment: Gbajabiamila, Lawan Lobby Governors to Save Local Government Autonomy, 43 Other Bills