THE National Assembly, yesterday, completed the amendment of the 1999 Constitution with approval of life pension for anybody who has held office as President or Vice President, Senate President or Deputy Senate President, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
But beneficiaries of this gesture must be occupants who successfully concluded their terms in office without removal or impeachment.
The amended constitution, which was presented as motion, to the floor of the Senate by the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, for onward transmission to the president for assent, also made it mandatory for the president to appear once a year before the joint sitting of the National Assembly to deliver an address in respect of the state of the nation.
But the president, in the expected constitution, loses the power to solely assent to bills passed by the National Assembly. The same applies to state governors.
The amended Clause read: “Any person who has held office as President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, provided that such a person was not removed from office by the process of impeachment or for breach of any of the provisions of this Constitution.
“The president shall attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver an address in respect of the state of the nation. He may attend any joint meeting of the National Assembly, either to deliver an address on national affairs including fiscal measures, or to make such statement on the policy of government as he considers to be of national importance.”