House of Representative members have opposed the attempt by the Majority Leader of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, to upturn the recent amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal Act which had removed the powers of appointing Chairman of the CCT from the President yesterday.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who presided over the plenary has told the Leader to come up with a substantive motion if he wanted the bill to be revisited so that members would be present and prepare to make contributions to it instead of being “ambushed”.
The Leader had in a Point of Order referred the House to Part 1 of Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, Section 15, sub-sections 3 and 4 and Section 17, Sub-sections 1 and 4 which had stated that it was the constitutional responsibility of the President based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Commission to appoint the Chairman of the CCT and members.
He said, “This House has always been the House of the people over the years, we have never been detached from the public opinion or public perception, we have always operated with one heartbeat of the nation.
“Mr. Speaker, it will not be under your speakership or our membership that this House will begin to lose integrity. Because apparently a couple of months ago, perhaps unknown to a lot of us, always 40 bills were presented to this House and one day, they passed to the Committee of the Whole.
“We did not pay particular attention to the contents and clauses but when we discovered subsequently that those clauses are a mere infraction of the Constitution, it behoves on us as a House to hold our breadth and look at the Constitution again.”
But Rep. Kingsley Chinda, representing Obiakpor Constituency of Rivers State, while relying on the House Order 9 Rule 1, sub-rule 6 interjected with Point of Order.
He explained that the House Rule stated that, “it shall be out of order to attempt reconsidering specific item upon which the House has arrived conclusion during the current session except upon a substantive motion.”
He further said that the proper way to follow the matter if the House should revisit it was by way of substantive motion and called that the motion by the Majority Leader should be stepped down pending when a substantive motion would be brought before the House.
Also supporting the position of Chinda, Rep Edward Pwajok, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said that when a bill had been passed by the House and the senate and sent to the President for assent, it was a violation or an aberration to begin to revisit it when it had not been returned by the President.
But Gbajabiamila responded that the said bill was still within the National Assembly and had not been sent to the President for assent.
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Dogara said, “We all know the rules as aptly pointed out by Honourable Chinda. And the reason why it has to come by a substantive motion is to put it on notice so that members will not be ambushed.
“Nobody is saying we cannot reconsider it but let us follow the provisions of our rules so that members will have the ample time to go through with the reasons you are raising.
“So for us to suspend the rules to take this motion, it will be like an ambush, so it is better that all of us are well informed and it is tabled for debate.”