Constitution Amendment: Senate Makes A U-Turn On Jonathan’s Veto

Who says the executive arm of government is not the most powerful among the three tiers of government in Nigeria?

Who say the judiciary is now autonomous that it can no longer be controlled by the executive arm of government?

The Senate on Wednesday bowed down to the powers of the Judiciary by announcing that the house would be maintaining ‘status quo’ on the contentious issue of constitution amendment, following the intervention of the .

The Senate had threatened to override Jonathan’s veto on the which seeks to amend .

However, the president of the Senate, David Mark, while making the position of the Senate known, affirmed that lawmakers are custodian of the law and not law-breakers.

Mark said,” I think it is proper for me because of the importance of the issue, to make a very simple but straight forward unambiguous statement. We are lawmakers and we will not be law-breakers.

“We are not just lawmakers, we are very senior responsible citizens and very senior lawmakers and this is the apex of law making in this country.

“Therefore, on the issue of the current constitution review that is before the Supreme Court, we want to assure Nigerians that we will not break any law in this country.

“We will take appropriate action that will ensure that democracy survives but I will also want to warn that we should not be taken for granted by the executive but once more let me assure Nigerians that as lawmakers, we will not be law-breakers.”

The , , also gave his view on the issue: “We have a legal option to vigorously challenge the order of the court which was made ex parte; it was made without us being put on notice.”

“I believe we can get the court to quickly determine that and we intend to pursue that option. We should expect this legal challenge as soon as possible.

“It is not correct that we did not form the four-fifth quorum, our records are very clear, the votes and proceedings are there and we have gone through the records again and we certainly met the constitutional requirement of four-fifth.

“The Attorney-General of the Federation who is alleging that we did not meet that constitutional requirement has not exhibited any document to show that we did not but from our records we clearly did.

“We are to conclude that we are suddenly confronted with this ambush. We think it is in bad faith and it is regrettable. We are going to court to challenge the court order.

“We were not put on notice; we did not have any notice and we were not represented. We are lawmakers not law-breakers

“if you look at the 1999 Constitution, the Jurisdiction conferred on the Supreme Court did not include this kind of situation where one arm of government is having an issue with another arm of government.

“That jurisdiction was conferred by an Act of the National Assembly in 2002, which means it is a jurisdiction that we voluntarily gave to the Supreme Court and because that jurisdiction came from us, we must be seen to be obeying the laws of the land.

“The constitution has given the judiciary the power to adjudicate in situations like this and the matter is before the judiciary, we acknowledge that. So the best way out is to go pursue that order and vigorously pursue its being set aside and that is exactly what we are going to do immediately.”

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