The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), the umbrella body of registered political parties and associations in the country, has strongly condemned the amendment to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Act by the National Assembly (NASS) and called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign the amended Act into law.
The CNPP made its objection to the amendment known in a statement it issued on Sunday. Signed by its Secretary-General, Mr. Willy Ezugwu, the statement called on Nigerians and the civil society groups in the country, including the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to mount pressure on President Buhari to withhold his assent to the said amendment.
The CNPP explained that it arrived at a decision to oppose the amendment after a careful evaluation of the circumstances in which the proposed amendment was made..
“We are taken aback that just months after it initially suspended the move to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Act, the National Assembly subtly passed the amendment Bill into law.
“When the plan by the National Assembly to amend the Act first became known to members of the public, there was deafening outcry, which forced the lawmakers to suspend the move.
“The CNPP, just like many other Nigerians had thought that the National Assembly by the suspension of the earlier move to amend the CCT/CCB Act was a sign of good days ahead where the lawmakers respect the majority opinion of their respective constituencies," noted the CNPP.
The body said it came to a conclusion, following the subtle passage of the amendment Bill, that the National Assembly is serving the interest of its principal officers and not that of the Nigerian people, who elected its members.
The CNPP also noted that the speed with which the amendment was carried out at a time some principal officers were accused of false declaration of assets is an indication of the interest it intended to serve.
“We therefore urge President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold his assent by not signing the amended Act into law, as the circumstances surrounding the amendment shows it was done in bad faith and the action of the National Assembly amounts taking over executive powers to the detriment of the constitutional principle of separation of powers. It must be noted that appointment of the staff of the CCT and CCB are clear executive powers, which the National Assembly cannot be allowed usurp," declared the body.
It invited the attention of Nigerians and civil society organisations to the need to pressure President Buhari into withholding his assent, as signing the amendment into law will make the National Assembly a refuge for former governors and political office holders who make false assets declarations.
“CNPP, therefore, condemns the amendment in strongest terms as we regard it as a rape on the principle of justice and an ambush on the ongoing trail of some principal officers of the National Assembly over alleged false assets declaration fraud.
"This same National Assembly that has delayed the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which could create jobs for many unemployed Nigerians, was quick to amend the CCT/CCB Act, arrogating to itself the power to control both the CCB and CCT, because it serves its interest", the CNPP said.