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RIGID CONSTITUTION

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Another institutionalized device in a federal system is the existence of a rigid form of amending the constitution. This is to preserve the corporate existence of the country and check secession bid by any of the states making up the federation. In line with section 9 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, an Act of the National Assembly for the alteration of the Constitution other than creation of states, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless:

  1.  The proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House; and 
  2. Approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the states. 

Also, section 9(3) provides that sections 8 and 9 and chapter IV of the Constitution can only be amended if:

  1. The proposal is supported by the votes of not less than four-fifth majority of the National Assembly; and 
  2. Approved by resolution of two thirds of states Houses of 

Assembly in the country.

In the United States, an amendment to the Constitution as stated in Article IV Section 3(1) of the U.S. Constitution, can be made by a two- thirds vote in each House of Congress or by a convention called by congress upon the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states. The amendments proposed by either body must be ratified by the legislatures of three-quarters of the states.

In Australia, any amendment to the Constitution passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives must be submitted in each of the States to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members to the House of Representatives. If any of such law is passed by one House and rejected by the other and is passed the second time by the initiating House, after an interval of three months the Governor-General may refer the law to the electors of the House of Representatives. If it is accepted by a majority of the total number of voters, it becomes law.

In the United States, an attempt by American Southern States to secede from the American Union led to American Civil War between 1869 and 1871. In the American case of Texas V. White 74 U.S. (7 Wall) 700, the US Supreme Court declared the American Federal union as perpetual and indissoluble. The court further declared that the union did not provide any place for reconsideration or revocation except through a revolution or through the consent of the states.

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