The House of Representatives, Wednesday, turned down a fresh bid for the convergence of a national conference and a referendum where a new constitution for the country would be drafted and approved by Nigerians
The Senate and the House are at moment in the process of further amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
However, when a member from Rivers State, Mr. Kingsley Chinda, and another lawmaker from Edo State, Mr. Peter Akpatason, introduced a bill on Wednesday seeking to provide for the convocation of a national conference, the house rejected it outrightly.
The long title of the bill read, “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Convocation of National Conference for the People of Nigeria for the Purpose of Discussing and Adopting a New Constitution to be submitted for Consideration and Approval at a Referendum and for other Purposes Connected therewith.”
But, the House, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, did not allow the bill scale through.
It said any procedure for amending the constitution that was either in conflict with the constitution or did not comply with the extant provisions for the amendment of the constitution was “illegal.”
The House’s position was highlighted by the Chairman, Committee on Rules/Business, Mr. Orker Jev. He raised a point of order to oppose the bill.
Jev said Section 1 of the constitution held that it was the “supreme” law of the land, which was also binding on all Nigerians.
“Any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution automatically becomes null and void,” he stated.
Jev also argued that Section 9 of the constitution made clear provisions on how to amend it.
“Any other thing other procedure is illegal. You cannot bring a bill here to amend the constitution,” Jev told the House.
Dogara quickly concurred with Jev before he rammed his gavel to rule out the bill.
Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; Yoruba leader, Ayo Adebanjo; former Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana; former Governor of Anambra state, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; resource control protagonist, Ankio Briggs; and immediate former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi had advised President Buhari to begin the immediate implementation of the National Conference report of 2014 as a first step towards restructuring the country.
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