Home Constitutional Law II House of Assembly of a State-Tenure of Seats of Members-Powers and Control over Public Funds

House of Assembly of a State-Tenure of Seats of Members-Powers and Control over Public Funds

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The House of Assembly of a State consists of three times the total number of seats which that State has in the House of Representatives. The members are usually elected in an election and they must be Nigerian citizens of not less than 21 years of age each by the 1979 Constitution and 25 years of age by the 1989 Constitution.

Apart from the age barrier, they should have the same qualification and disqualification criteria like members of the National Assembly. This body has power to make laws by passing bills for their states; and regulation prevails for the assenting procedures by the Governors which are more or less the same with that of the National Assembly.

The House of Assembly of a State has powers to regulate also its own procedure including the procedure for summoning and recess of the House.

The House can appoint a committee of its own members for any special or general purpose as in its opinion is necessary for the effective discharge of its functions.

The House shall be dissolved at the expiration of 4 years commencing from the date of the first sitting of the House unless the Governor through proclamation issues otherwise as provided in the Constitution.

Tenure of Seats of Members

(1) A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the  House if:

(a) he becomes a member of another legislative house;

(b) any other circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of  that House, would cause him to be disqualified for election as  such a member;

(c) he ceases to be a citizen of Nigeria;

(d) he becomes President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy  Governor or a Minister of the Government of the Federation or a  Commissioner of the Government of a State;

(e) save as otherwise provided by this Constitution, he becomes a  member of a commission or other body established by this  Constitution or by any other law;

(f) without just cause he is absent from meetings of the House of  Assembly for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than  one-third of the total number of days during which the House  meets in any one year; or

(g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was  sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another  political party before the expiration of the period for which that  House was elected;

Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of 2 or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.

(2) A member of a House of Assembly shall be deemed to be absent  without just cause from a meeting of the House of Assembly  unless the person presiding certifies in writing that he is satisfied that the absence of the member from the meeting was for a just
cause.

Powers and Control over Public Funds

These powers are contained in sections 112 of the 1979 Constitution and section 118 of the 1989 Constitution. Also the mode of authorisation of expenditure from Consolidated Revenue Fund may be found in sections 113 and 119 of the 1979 and 1989 Constitutions respectively.

Both Constitutions also contain provisions for authorisation of expenditure in default of appropriation, provisions governing how to

make or utilize Contingency Fund, provisions for the Remuneration of the Governor and certain other officers, are also contained in the Constitutions, while comprehensive provisions are equally made for (a) Audit of Public Accounts, (b) Appointment of Auditor-General of a State, (c) Tenure of office of the Auditor-General, (d) Power to conduct investigations; and (e) power as to matters of evidence.

Learners are therefore enjoined to read the relevant portions of these constitutional provisions for proper assimilation and understanding.

Recall

The Recall principle contained in relation to the National Assembly in the 1989 Constitution applies by virtue of section 108 to a member of the House of Assembly.

CONCLUSION

In this unit, you learnt about the constitution, the legislature and the powers of the legislation to appropriate money and pass bills.

 SUMMARY

In this unit, we have considered the constitutional provision of the powers of the legislature and how they can authorise expenditure of states etc.

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