Friday, October 22, 2010

Senate concludes preliminary work on constitution review

The Senate on Thursday received the report of its ad hoc committee on constitution review on the second amendment to the constitution.

The report is based on the public hearing organised by the Senate on the bill three days earlier.

The bill was read for the first time the week before and according to the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, the bill is in consonance with the new dates demanded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for adjustment to the election time frame.

The bill sent from the president proposed that election be held not earlier than 90 days and not later than 30 days before the end of tenure of the running office, as against the prevailing constitutional provisions of not earlier than 150 days and not later than 120 days.

Although the contents of the report are yet to be made known, indications have emerged that the Senate may have proposed a wider time line.

“We are hoping that if we give them not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days, it will give them the scope of time they need,” Ayogu Eze, the Senate spokesman told reporters the previous day.

“They (INEC) do not even need to change the law after this particular year when they are through in this next election. If they have time, they can start early because they now have enough time to start and fix election. So, we have given them enough scope within 150 days and 30 days. And I want to assure Nigerians that that will be delivered timely,” Mr. Eze added.

The bill comprises of 10 clauses dealing with time frame for elections and matters surrounding which court will be the final court of hearing for election petitions concerning governorship elections.

With the current development, voting on the bill is expected to hold on next Tuesday and thereafter, an accelerated hearing in the House of Representatives and the state Houses of Assembly is expected to follow.

“Nigerians should not be very anxious about whether we will meet the time frame to make all the necessary amendment both in the Constitution and the electoral act.

“We have enough time ... but I believe it will not go beyond Tuesday this time around, and that is really the crucial thing that INEC needs to give them that breath of time,” Mr. Eze said.

source: 234next

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