Abuja – The House of Representatives, on Thursday, passed the bill seeking to institute a legal framework for smooth transfer of power from one government to another.
This is just as it declared that it was not bothered whether President Muhammad Buhari assents to its bills or not.
The Bill titled, “A bill for an Act to provide for the smooth and orderly transfer of power from one government to another; and for related matters (HBs 102 and 109)”, slated for third reading on the second order of the day, was passed by the House presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Sponsors of the bill believed that if the bill becomes an Act, it would facilitate hitch-free transmission of power from one government to another.
In a debate during the second reading of the bill, Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader, blamed series of accusations and counter-accusations recorded during the transfer of power from the previous administration to the incumbent on lack of legal framework to guide the process.
According to him, the bill makes provision for outgoing President and the President-elect to have their teams on both sides who would ensure smooth transition.
“This is necessary for them to review the handover notes and acquire knowledge of the activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),” Gbajabiamila had said.
He clarified that the bill provided for the publication of same information in the official gazette. “This will enable every Nigerian to access the performance of the outgone government and know where the incoming government is taking over from.
“There is no place under the law where you can assess the past governments and what transpired,” the lawmaker said.
On his part during the debate on that bill at second reading, the Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor (Delta-PDP), hailed the bill, saying that it would address a lot of administrative issues related to handover of power.
It is believed that the bill is very vital ahead of the 2019 general elections, but some analysts are doubtful that President Muhammad Buhari will sign it into law, considering his pattern of declining assent to several bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.
Upon resumption from the prolonged recess, the National Assembly had read the President’s communication, where he declined assent to about fifteen bills recently transmitted to him, including the amendment to the electoral Act.
However, briefing journalists on Thursday, the House said it was not disturbed by this trend, stressing that it was the right of the President to sign or decline to sign.
Abdulrazak Namdas, Chairman House Committee on Media and Publicity, said, “We cannot be legislating and doing the work of the executive.”
Namdas said that they were even grateful to this President for “dignifying us with his responses”, after declining assent, claiming that other preceding Presidents never communicated back to the National Assembly that they would not sign, not to talk of giving reasons for declining assent.
He noted that returning the bills by the President was very significant, as he often took pains to go through the bills thereby detecting the multiple errors that often characterised the bills transmitted to the President for assent.
Namdas insisted that whether the President gave his assent to the bills or not, the National Assembly would continue to do their legislative duties and turn in bills for his consideration.