President explains why he rejected constitutional amendment

President Goodluck Jonathan rejected the amendment on Monday, April 13, 2015 and returned it to the National Assembly.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has given reasons for his rejection of the constitution amendment bill forwarded to him by the National Assembly.

Jonathan rejected the amendment on Monday, April 13, 2015 and returned it to the legislative house.

In a letter titled, “Re: Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Fourth Alteration Act, 2015,” the President raised 13 grounds on the basis of which he vetoed the bill.

The letter, which was addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, was read at plenary on Wednesday, April 15.

In the letter, Jonathan explained that it would be unconstitutional for him to assent to the bill owing to certain inconsistencies and lack of clarity on the passage of the bill.

He also questioned the power the National Assembly has to assume on itself the power to pass any constitutional amendment without the assent of the President.

The President also disagreed with provisions which sought to reduce the power of the President and allow the National Judicial Council, NJC, to appoint the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Jonathan further cited Section 9 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulates that any alteration to the constitution can only be effected by the votes of not less than four-fifths majority of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and subsequently, approved by a resolution of not less than two-thirds of all the state houses of assembly.

The President said that the National Assembly has not provide any evidence to show that the requirements were met.

He also disagreed with the amendment of Section 84, which provides a new office of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government, apart from the Accountant-General of the Federation, saying the amendment has not addressed the funding requirements for the establishment of the office.

“In view of the foregoing and the absence of credible evidence that the Act satisfied the strict requirements of Section 9 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, it will be unconstitutional for me to assent to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fourth Alteration) Act, 2015,” Jonathan said.

“I therefore withhold my assent and accordingly remit it to the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he concluded.

Jonathan's letter was said to have come as a shock to the legislators but they were reportedly stopped from debating it by Senate President, David Mark.

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