Litigation, Insights

Constitutional Amendment on the First Session and Inauguration of Members-Elect of the National and State House of Assembly.

Recently, the wind of amendment which greeted the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 was received with pageantry and aplomb. The news broke when most media outlets in the country reported that President Muhammadu Buhari had assented to sixteen (16) Constitution Alteration Bills presented to him by the National House of Assembly. One of such Bills is the Fifth Alteration (No.8), a bill to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to regulate the first session and inauguration of members-elect of the National and State Houses of Assembly; and for related matters. The first session and inauguration of the National and State Houses of Assembly (“NSHA”) members-elect in Nigeria represents a pivotal moment in the nation’s democratic history. It marked the transition of power and showcases the country’s commitment to upholding the principles of democracy, inclusivity, and good governance.

Essentially, the election of the principal officers of the NSHA is conducted at the first session and inauguration of the members-elect. Prior to the Fifth Alteration Act No.8, there had been situations where the principal officers of the Houses were elected by a handful of members-elect using unlawfully amended Standing orders of the House(s). There are also instances where a handful of members-elect were inaugurated. Thus, the need to regulate the inaugural sitting of the Houses of Assembly brought about the Fifth Alteration Act No.8. This article seeks to evaluate the legal and legislative implications of the Fifth Alteration Act No. 8 on the members-elect of the National and State Houses of Assembly.

First Session And Inauguration Of Members-Elect Of The National And State Houses Of Assembly
In Nigeria, the first session and inauguration of members-elect of the National and State Houses of Assembly (“NSHA”) is an official ceremony in the legislative houses and indeed a watershed moment wherein members-elect of the respective houses of assembly are introduced, inducted and take their oath of office. It is a significant event that symbolizes the democratic process and marks the formal beginning of a new legislative term. During this event, the oath of office is administered to the members-elect of the NSHA and they are officially sworn in as lawmakers…

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