Section 58 of the 1999 constitution ‘ the power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both senate and the House of Representatives and except as otherwise provided by subsection (5) of this section assented to by the president”
A bill is a legislative proposal for a new law or a proposal to change an existing law which is presented for debate before the two houses. A bill does not become law until it has passed through the stages of lawmaking.. It has to pass through first reading,second reading, committee ,report stage,third reading(considerations and amendments) and engrossment.
The processes of lawmaking generally requires a long period of deliberations and considerations.
In any democratic setting ,we cannot rule out the powers of consultation with citizens on any legislative proposals and the response of the government to public comments on any bill which is inimical to the well being of the country. This is where we are expected to play our part in the affairs of our country.
The public outcry against the obnoxious bill particularly section 13(3) of the proposed bill by some members of the National Assembly and the eventual deletion of the section from the bill is a welcome development..
Article 21 of the Universal declaration of human rights provided
” Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Section 14(2) c of the 1999 ” the participation of the people in the affairs of the country shall be the primary responsibility of the government”
Sec 14 2 of the constitution does not explicitly specify what type of public involvement is required, but I am of the opinion that in future , for any draft bill to have any meaningful impact the people should be carried along so as to avoid the situation that accompanied the public condemnation of the bill originally proposed by members of the National Assembly
This is where the Constitution review Committee of both Houses comes in to allay our fears by ensuring that consultative requirements should be inserted in our future constitution to avoid conflicts of interests and to restore public confidence in legislative lawmaking.
Finally, we salute the courage of Senator Adegbenga Sefiu Kaka and other members of the NA for acceding to the requests and yearnings of Nigerians by deleting section (13) 3 from the proposed bill.
The will of the people shall be basis of the authority of government and the will can only be meaningful if leaders or elected representatives do the bidding of the people and reflects their yearnings and aspirations through policy formulations and lawmaking processes…….