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A State of the Nation Address Bill 2020, sponsored by the lawmaker representing Ethiope-East/Ethiope-West Federal Constituency in Delta State, is proposing making it compulsory for every sitting President to address Nigerians on the state of the nation.
The president would also address a joint session of the National Assembly periodically, while the federal parliament could summon him if he failed to come forward to address lawmakers as and when due.
If the bill eventually becomes law, it would be mandatory for President Buhari and successive presidents to address both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The bill read, “Be it enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:
“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.”
Recall that 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, has pointed out that the bill was borne out of the refusal by Buhari to appear before the National Assembly last year.