NASS to control Presidential Inauguration in Nigeria

A bill for an Act to Provide for the Inauguration of the President and Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, passed  second reading in the Senate last Thursday.

The bill, titled “Presidential Inauguration Bill, 2016’’, sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, seeks to align presidential inauguration in Nigeria with what obtained in advanced democracies of the world.

While leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Ekweremadu explained that the bill sought to move the inauguration of the president and the vice-president from the Eagle Square to the National Assembly.

He said the new arrangement would not prevent the Chief Justice of Nigeria from swearing in the president and vice-president.

“You would recall that Nigeria transformed from operating a parliamentary Westminster system to the extant Presidential system which is  modelled after the U.S. Presidential system of government in 1979 and continued to the Fourth Republic from 1999 to date.

“From the commencement of  Fourth Republic to 2015, inauguration or swearing-in of  newly elected president and  vice-president  took  place at the Eagle Square.

“This is at variance with what transpires in the United States and other democracies where their presidents and vice-presidents are inaugurated within the precincts of their parliaments.

“This is a misnomer.  The popular or international best practice is for the leadership of the Executive to be inaugurated within the premises of the Legislature, who are perceived as the true representatives of the people,’’ he said.

Ekweremadu said that the bill further provided for the inauguration ceremony of the president-elect and the vice-president-elect to take place at the Arcade of the National Assembly, where the people were represented.

He further said the bill provided for the setting up of a Presidential Inauguration Committee,  consisting of a serving member of the National Assembly as chairman.

He added that the committee would consist of  six members drawn from the Legislature, two from the Executive, two from the Judiciary and two from Civil Society Organisations.

Consequently, the Senate approved for the bill to be read a second time after a voice vote and subsequently referred  to the Senate Committee on Special Duties for further consideration.

Recall that  a similar bill was  sponsored by Sen. Jubril Aminu (Adamawa Central)  in 2009 and was passed by the 6th National Assembly but did not receive presidential assent.