By Njoku SaintJerry A
“This is the revolution Nigerians have long yearned for and it must begin somewhere right at the center of the law making body, altering the statusquo in the national assembly.”
No doubt the new lease of life injected into the 10th Assembly is the direct outcome of the 2022 Electoral Amendment Bill that gave precedence to the right of the electorate to decide who will genuinely represent their interest at the legislative chambers, it witnessed the outright rejection of serving governors whom were warming their way to go and cozy up at the red chambers, a supposedly new retirement home for many governors and top cabinet members after they have done ample number of years in the government.
The power the bill gave to the electorates certainly frustrated the old foxes in their game so that a great number of the senator-elect were coming into the red chambers for the first time in their political journey. This is the revolution Nigerians have long yearned for and it must begin somewhere right at the center of the law making body, altering the statusquo in the national assembly.
The Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi influence certainly may have played a decisive role on the vote swing but we cannot undermine the role of political parties on their candidates whom are equally represented in the legislative chambers with 60 positions under the control of APC, 36 from PDP, 8 from LP while others shared oppositional figures in the margin of 2 and 1 each between SDP, NNPP and YPP
One striking feature of the 10th Assembly is the existence of newly elected members whose political career actually started with the 2023 national assembly elections. These are individuals whose characters and competence has endeared them to the electorates not necessarily by the political platform they have contested on but their political antecedents and responsibility to the people.
This is what has stood them out from mere political affiliations. Nevertheless, for the mere fact that the Nigeria constitution does not recognize independent candidature, the 10th Assembly might consider the necessity to debate the possibility of lawmakers and every other political office holders contesting for positions based on their personal conviction and acceptance by their immediate communities. This is what the 10th Assembly has portrayed with its 73 new members, some who are not your everyday political juggernauts but were buoyed by the people’s deep desire for a change. The people should be given the privilege to elect whom they trust to represent them irrespective of political parties – if the members of the 10th National assembly wants to make an impact that is sustainable, perhaps they should begin to discuss the possibility of independence candidacy where the candidacy of the legislators is not influenced by political leaning but by the choices of electorates. It is this premise that has given wings to new entrants into the mainstream Nigeria political party like Labour Party, NNPP, SDP to establish themselves and bring in new blood of candidates that sent parking veteran law makers and serving governors relishing in the power of incumbency to win elections. Although this idea may pose a new challenge to the lawmakers, it may create a buffer to the manipulative tendencies of political parties to foist stooges on the electorates whom will only be responsible to the dictates of the party that brought them into power and not the people they claim to be representing.
Also, the process of recall if a candidates begin to misbehave at the red chambers or take the people’s trust for granted will become heightened and no longer a manipulative political party affair but the sole decision of the electorate at any point of misdemeanor. If the citizens know that they can recall the National assembly members when they misbehave, without undue interference by any political party, I am certain there will be a lot of sanity in the 10th Assembly.
The question of power sharing will have to reflect the position of all the political parties represented in the 10th National Assembly, the era of dominance by a single political party will definitely come under intense scrutiny as the new comers did not emerge under the popularity of any political party but on popular decision of the electorates. This should make the 10th Assembly even more interesting as every activity of the legislative chambers is bound to be people oriented as 80% of the new comers will have to deal with the responsibility of proving to the electorates that they mean business in providing measurable oversight functions and laws that promotes humanity and economic development of the nation.