The tradition of inaugurating the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria at Eagles Square may be about to change.
The Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, passed a bill for an Act to make the premises of the National Assembly the venue for the swearing in of the President and Vice President henceforth.
The present situation: Since the transition to civilian rule in 1999, The Eagles Square in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has been the conventional venue for swearing in of the President and his Vice President; a ceremony usually conducted by the Chief Justice of the Federation. The bill, which was first debated on the floor of the Senate on December 8, 2016, received overwhelming support from the lawmakers.
Why the Senate wants the National Assembly: According to deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who sponsored the bill, that is the standard practice in most presidential systems globally.
“That is the standard. Because the National Assembly is the symbol of democracy and here is the temple of democracy. It makes every sense that presidents will take oath of office within the confines of the highest legislative body in the land under the supervision of the peoples’ representatives,” he said.
In his words, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Special duties, Abdulaziz Nyako, while presenting the report of the committee to the Senate, said the bill is “in recognition of the fact the legislature is the assemblage of the representatives of the entire country and as such, it will not be out of place for such important national event to take place in the National assembly.”
Two more steps to go: To become operative in Nigeria, the bill has to be passed by the House of Representatives as well as assented to by the President.