The House of Representatives is proposing making it compulsory for every sitting President of Nigeria to address the citizens on the state of the nation, and also address a joint session of the National Assembly periodically, while the Federal Legislature could summon the President, if he fails to come forward to address the Lawmakers when needed,
This is being proposed in the State of the Nation Address Bill2020, which was sponsored by the Lawmaker representing Ethiope-East/Ethiope-West Federal Constituency, in Delta State, Hon. Ben Igbakpa, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The legislation is titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to Make Provision for the State of the Nation Address By President and for Other Matters, 2020’, and it reads: “Be it enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:
“The President shall not later than six months from the date of enactment of the Appropriation Act, address a joint session of the National Assembly on the state of the nation.
“The President shall address the joint session aforesaid on such issues including but not limited to national security, the economy, budget performance, foreign policy and social justice.
“Where the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria fails, neglects or refuses to render the state of the nation address within the time stipulated by Section 1 of this bill, the National Assembly may by resolution supported by 2/3 (two-thirds) majority votes of members of the Senate and House of Representatives, summon the President to address the nation pursuant to the provisions of this bill.”
The Bill is reportedly however, silent on what happens where the President also ignores the summons by the National Assembly.
The House had on March 16, 2021, passed for second reading, a similar Bill seeking to amend the Constitution, with a new provision to compel a sitting President to appear before the National Assembly, whenever he or she is summoned by the Federal Legislature.
More news later…