President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly have now settled the differences over the ongoing constitution amendment process which forced the Presidency to drag the national assembly to the Supreme Court.
The development comes on the heels of a directive by a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday, asking lawyers of both parties to broker a settlement talk between their clients.
Counsel for the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), who instituted the suit on behalf of the President, and Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who represented the National Assembly, told the apex court panel that both parties made concessions before arriving at a settlement.
An adjournment followed till 4pm on Wednesday in order to give the plaintiff enough time to file a notice of discontinuance for the suit.
The National Assembly and President Jonathan got into the squabble due to Jonathan’s refusal to assent to the 4th Alteration Bill on the grounds of the alleged failure of the Assembly to fulfil the mandatory requirement for the passage of the bill.
In a bid to avoid a situation in which the legislators might pass the bill on veto power, the AGF on behalf of the President then filed a suit to challenge the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly.
The president is opposed to, among other provisions in the proposed amendment of the constitution which conferred on the National Assembly, the power to pass an amendment of the constitution without the president’s consent.
The plaintiff, in his originating summons, wants the court to nullify and set aside Sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015 purportedly passed by the defendant.
The plaintiff also asked the court to determine two questions, “Whether the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) by the Defendant through sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ((Fourth Alteration) Act 2015 (hereinafter referred to as The Fourth Alteration Act 2015) which purportedly altered sections 8, 9, 34, 35, 39, 42, 45, 58, 84, 150, 174 and 211 of the Constitution without compliance with the requirements of section 9(3) of the Constitution is not unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null and void?
“Whether in the absence of compliance by the Defendant with the mandatory requirement of section 9(3) of the Constitution in the passage of the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015, the Defendant can competently exercise its powers under section 58(5) of the Constitution to enable the purported Act to become Law?”
The plaintiff further prayed the court to hold, among others, that the proposed amendments to the Constitution through sections 3, 4, 12, 14, 21, 23, 36, 39, 40, 43 and 44 of the Fourth Alteration Act, 2015 which purportedly altered sections 8, 9, 34, 35, 39, 42, 45, 58, 84, 150, 174 and 211 of the Constitution and passed by the defendant without complying with the mandatory requirement of section 9(3) and (4) of the said Constitution stipulating passage by at least four-fifths majority of all members of each House specified in sections 48 and 49 of the Constitution is unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”