Report on plenary session of House of Representatives on Tuesday march 1, 2022

National Assembly

Constitution review: Reps conclude voting on first 68 bills, pass LG autonomy, independent candidacy, others, Women get 20% ministerial, commissionership appointments.

The House of Representatives successfully concluded voting on its first set of 68 constitution amendment bills on Tuesday march 1, 2022. The exercise, which was presided over by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, was conducted through the electronic platform of the House, otherwise known as e-voting.

Most of the amendment bills secured the mandatory two-thirds votes (240) of the 360-member legislature.

The session was witnessed by the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, who came to canvass support for bills promoting women’s interest, especially political participation and gender-based violence, She came in the company of the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen.

The First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, had a similar visit to the House earlier last week.

Key bills that succeeded on Tuesday included financial autonomy for local governments/abolition of local government, state joint account; financial independence for state legislatures and the judiciary; independent candidacy; the power of the National Assembly/State Assemblies to summon the President/Governors to answer questions; President to give annual State of the Nation Address to Parliament; migration of prisons from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list; empowering states to build and own airports;  states to generate, distribute electricity in areas covered by the National Grid; and making basic education compulsory and free for all children.

Among the bills that failed was; immunity for legislators; pension for presiding officers of the legislature; expansion of citizenship by registration; indigenship for married persons; Diaspora voting and mode of removing presiding officers of the legislature.

Three of the bills, which failed, also sought to promote gender-balancing by expanding political participation for women, party administration and the creation of special legislative seats for women.

However, the House approved 20 per cent of ministerial and commissionership appointments for women.

It came through a surprise intervention by Speaker Gbajabiamila, who had tirelessly appealed to his colleagues to pass the gender bills.

In a final move to protect the image of the House, the Speaker resorted to calling a voice vote in the very last minutes to secure the 20 per cent appointments for the women.

The constitution review is ongoing. The first set of bills will be transmitted to the 36 state legislatures after the Senate and the House would have harmonized any differences in the voting both chambers did on Tuesday. The second set of bills is expected soon for another round of voting.

Olalere Taiwo
For Head of Press:
Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters.