The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has assured that they will override Governor Emmanuel’s withheld assent on select bills passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Several bills have been passed by the 6th and 7th Assembly of the State without assent given by the Governor. The withheld assent to bills passed by the Assembly has been a top burner issue in the State especially as it relates to Akwa Ibom State Youth Development Fund Bill.
However, withheld assent to bills in the State took the centre stage during the Public Hearing on Akwa Ibom State Legislative Funds Management bill held on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.
Speakers after speakers complained that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is in the habit of bringing the public out to give inputs on bills which will later be passed into law without getting assent from the Governor coupled with the House of Assembly failing to utilize the powers granted them to veto bills if the Governor withholds assent.
The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Sunny James in his presentation noted that it is unfair to the public that bills passed by the House of Assembly are left without assent.
” A clear case of one of the most important bill that the public clamoured for which has been passed into law but without assent is the Akwa Ibom State Youth Development Fund Bill. Since the last Assembly which this bill was passed into law, it has not received assent. Is this not a waste of resources?
” We in the labour movement call on the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to do something about this bill and the plethora of other bills passed without assent.”
On his part, the Secretary of Civil Liberties Organization in Akwa Ibom State, Christopher Ekpo noted that many of such bills include Akwa Ibom State Youth Development Fund Bill, Akwa Ibom State College of Science and Technology Bill; and the Customary Courts Bill.
He charged the House of Assembly to make use of Section 100 (5) and override the Governor’s withheld assent.
The section provides “Where the Governor withholds assent and the bill is again passed by the House of Assembly by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the Governor shall not be required”.
In response, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniekan Bassey asked the public to give the House of Assembly till December 2021 for the House of veto necessary bills.
Represented by the House Leader, Rt Hon Udo Kieran, the Speaker said currently there is a delegation from the House led by him which is working with the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to uncover the said bills, assess them in a bid to ensure they are passed into law.
He maintained that the task before the Committee will be completed before December 2021 and they will veto necessary bills they have passed into law.
Kieran however explained that the reason the House of Assembly has delayed to veto the bills which do not enjoy the Governor’s assent is because of the implementation question.
“When you veto it and it becomes a law, who will implement it? That has always been the question and challenge”, Kieran said.