The House of Representatives has proposed a bill making it compulsory for every sitting President to address Nigerians on the state of the nation.
The President is also expected to address lawmakers in the National Assembly, however, failure to do so when due would get him summoned.
If the bill is passed, it would be compulsory for President Muhammadu Buhari and his successors to address both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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, Mr Ben Igbakpa, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
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.’
The bill read, “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.”
It was, however, not stated what would happen if the president fails to honour the invite of 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 parliament.
Sponsor of the bill, Sergius Ogun, had noted that the bill was borne out of the refusal by Buhari to appear before the National Assembly last year.