The 10th Assembly and the lawmakers Nigerians do not wish to encounter

“Nigerians do not wish to see a continuation of the level of arrogance exhibited by members of the 9th Assembly, especially where the individual knows very little about the business of law making, implementation and oversight but is being intoxicated by the sudden political power he or she has acquired overnight.”

 By Njoku SaintJerry A.

The 9th Senate, which came with the theme, “a Senate that works for the people,” is ending its session with a sense of fulfillment for having achieved milestones that has brought Nigerians of all categories a relief in its electoral system that was fraught with irregularities, violence and outright manipulations, brought sanity to its Petroleum industry with the passing of PIA (Petroleum Industrial Act.) that introduced transparency and accountability in the business of its oil and gas and most importantly the early passing of budgets.  

The lawmakers surely has the whole right to beat its chest for a job well done but Nigerians retain the final judgment on how their elected representatives has carried out the functions for which they were elected into the red chambers especially in the business of law making and oversight functions on other arms of government who has effortlessly continued to portray Nigeria in a very negative picture as a country of outlaws with weak judicial systems whose implementation of law is alleged to have only served the interest of the executives and political elites, as they deem fit to interpret and not for the interest of the citizens and the nation. 

The National Assembly in Abuja is where elected members of the legislature gather to make laws for the good governance of Nigeria and her people. However, of what use is the law where they are promulgated and flouted at will, beside law making, it is the statutory business of the legislative assembly to provide checks and balances between the Judiciary and the Executives as representatives of the people. From all indications, especially in the areas of citizen’s expectations on healthcare, education and security, the outgoing 9th Senate is alleged to have scored abysmal performance when their services were needed most.

The vote of no confidence and outright rejection of members of the 9th legislative assembly has resulted in the increased number of new comers in the 10th Assembly. This should signal a red flag mounted in waiting should the new comers in the 10th Assembly decides to toe the infamous path of the 9th Assembly that Nigerians do not wish to encounter.

Like in the previous administration, the legislatives failed to get the executive to implement its several resolutions, especially those that have to do with the worsening security situation in the country, rather than abating, the situation has continued to grow worse. 

The House has been passing resolutions every week, asking the government to take proactive measures on the insecurity situation in the country, or declare a state of emergency in the educational and health sector to no avail. While all these have gone unimplemented, the House appeared handicapped in compelling the government to do the needful. Nigerians would want to see members of the 10th Assembly take proactive and decisive actions on issues of national interest without undue interference by party loyalty

The 10th Assembly should not give in to political manipulations where functions of members of the legislatives are based on party loyalty rather than national interest. Lawmakers begin to lose their credibility when government appointees blatantly refuse to honour summons from the House to explain how they manage the offices they occupy and hold in trust for the citizenry. Concerted efforts should be made in implementing laws passed by the house as it will further give credibility to members of the 10th Assembly. 

Recalcitrant heads of agencies and Chief Executives who display outright disregard for the rule of law, especially whenever they’re summoned for questioning, thereby undermining the power given to members of the assembly by the 1999 Constitution should be sanctioned forthwith without any form of compromise, otherwise such loopholes will only sets precedence for disobedience to law of the state

In the Legislative Agenda of the 9th Assembly, termed “Our Contract with Nigerians” there is a provision to overhaul the healthcare sector to match international standard. That promises to overhaul the healthcare delivery system and amend the National Health Act to, among other things, provide for the establishment of sustainable sources of revenue to finance the healthcare sector and several other items contained in the Legislative Agenda, till date that promises, despite all the debates in the 9th assembly have not been realized. 

This is not the kind of lawmakers Nigerians wish to see in the 10th Assembly.

More so, the newly elected lawmakers should pay critical attention to a situation where members had converted the legislative chambers to a house of lamentations and vain rhetoric’s about the general state of insecurity and abysmal economic situation in the country. Where applicable the new comers should take educations in the areas of legislative responsibilities from members of CSO’s engaged in legislative duties to avoid a repeat of any negative attributes that characterizes the outgoing senate

The outgoing Senator Ahmed Lawan led administration of the 9th Assembly got to a point where Nigerians began to refer it as a ‘rubber stamp’ assembly due to its glaring levels of compromise with the executives and negligence on matters of national interest. Nigerians do not wish to see a repeat of such menacing performance that brought disdain to the National assembly to a point where it began to rub off on the few recorded achievements they have secured for the nation.

The national assembly, as an institution where legislative and policy interventions are carried out, should be populated by persons who are not intellectually challenged in the virtues and graces of deliberation, sound argument and public reasoning. They should have the courage to say NO to wrong policies of government and the moral courage to defend the ordinary citizens who elected them into power.

Nigerians do not wish to see a continuation of the level of arrogance exhibited by members of the 9th Assembly, especially where the individual knows very little about the business of law making, implementation and oversight but is being intoxicated by the sudden political power he or she has acquired overnight. Certainly, not at a time when majority of the new comers were a product of voter’s awareness buoyed by the youth movement who saw the need to participate in the political activities of the nation, they will not hesitate to mow down or recall such individual in the same awareness they had employed to cast their vote. 

Members of the 10th Assembly should endeavour to imbibe the rare character of humility and public spiritedness and where necessary, to solicit for help from those who have the insights and knowledge to improve their work in the chambers.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) reported in 2005 and 2009 that African parliaments are notoriously ill-equipped, poorly staffed and lack research capacity to be efficient and effective. Here in Nigeria this poor state is worsened where proud legislators with little talent refuse to be guided in wisdom. Nigerians do not wish to see this a repeat of these negative signals.

The new Lawmakers should pay attention to the voice of citizens, especially those who are privileged to know and ask questions. Knowledge is not the prerogative of the legislator otherwise they’ll be left to wallow in the ignorance of the 9th Assembly.

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