Home Constitutional Law II Vacation of Seats- Tenure of Seats of Members-Qualifications for Membership of National Assembly-Disqualifications The Life Span of the Legislature-Duty of the President in Relation to the National Assembly

Vacation of Seats- Tenure of Seats of Members-Qualifications for Membership of National Assembly-Disqualifications The Life Span of the Legislature-Duty of the President in Relation to the National Assembly

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The President or the Deputy President of the Senate or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall vacate his office under the following conditions; to wit:

(a) If he ceases to be a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives; or (b) When the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or

(c) If he is removed from office by a Resolution of the Senate or of the House of Representatives, as the case may be, by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of members of that House.

Tenure of Seats of Members

  1.  A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if:(a) he becomes a member of another legislative house;(b) any other circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives, would cause him to be disqualified for election as 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 prescribed 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 which he is a member for a period amounting in the aggregation 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 was sponsored by apolitical 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 a 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 the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall  be deemed to be absent without just cause from a meeting of the  House of which he is member, 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.

Qualifications for Membership of National Assembly

To be qualified for an election to the Senate, a Nigerian Citizen must be 30 years of age, while he must be 21 years of age to stand for any election to the House of Representatives. Please note that only a Nigerian citizen can stand for any election in either of these two bodies

Disqualifications

(1) No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the  House of Representatives if:

(a) he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than  Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the  National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such  a country;

(b) under any law in force in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to  be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;

 (c) he is under a sentence of imprisonment for an offence involving  dishonesty (by whatever name called) exceeding 6 months  imposed on him by such a Court or substituted by a competent

authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court; (d) within a period of less than 10 years before the date of an  election to a legislative house he has been convicted and  sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been  found guilty of a contravention of the Code of Conduct;

(e) he is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or  otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in Nigeria; or (f) he is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or
of any State.

(2) Where in respect of any person who has been adjudged to be a  lunatic, declared to be of unsound mind, sentenced to death or  imprisonment or adjudged or declared bankrupt, any appeal  against the decision is pending in any court of law in accordance  with any law in force in Nigeria, subsection (1) of this section  shall not apply during a period beginning from the date when  such appeal is lodged and ending on the date when appeal is  finally determined or, as the case may be, the appeal lapses or is  abandoned, whichever is earlier; and for the purposes of this  subsection, an “appeal” includes any application for an injunction  or an order of certiorari, mandamus, prohibition or habeas  corpus, or any appeal from any such application.

The Life Span of the Legislature; The maximum life of the Legislature is 4 years by both the 1979, 1989 and 1999 Constitutions of Nigeria. This period is to be calculated from the date of the first sitting of the House. But if the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of 4 years from time to time but not beyond a period of 6 months at any one time.

Duty of the President in Relation to the National  Assembly;The President is fully empowered to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the National Assembly immediately after his being sworn in or the dissolution of the National Assembly.

The President is fully empowered to address annually a joint meeting of the National Assembly on the State of the Nation.

He may also attend any joint meeting of the National Assembly or any meeting of either House 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.

The President also has a constitutional power to assent to the bills passed by the National Assembly. But where the President within 30 days after the presentation of the bill to him fails to signify his assent or where he withholds assent, then the bill shall again be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint meeting; and if passed by two-thirds majority of members of both Houses at such joint meeting, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required. It is therefore pertinent to discuss in details mode of exercising Federal legislative power in general and with regard to money bills.

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