Editor’s note: This article explains the role of the legislature. The writer advises lawmakers to seek public interest first, instead of their personal interest, in order to move the nation forward.
This article expresses the opinion of Sultan Abiodun. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng.
Democracy is based on the notion that people should be self-governing, and that the representatives of the people be held accountable for their dithering, actions and inaction.
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For stability and good governance to be achieved, some degree of cooperation and understanding amongst the three arms of government is expected.
Going by the drama and intrigues that heralded the inauguration of the National Assembly, Nigerians should prepare for a legislature whose modus operandi will not be any different from the last one.
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi during his tenure, recognizing the pivotal role of the legislature at a conference of Speakers of State legislators in Abuja, in a paper titled: BUILDING A VIBRANT LEGISLATURE AS A MEANS OF DEEPENING DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION.
He said,“It therefore becomes a significant issue for those of us in the executive to continue to make efforts to reach out a hand of support and cooperation to you, our dear colleagues in the national legislature, as we are essentially partners in progress, with the promotion of the welfare of our people as the raison d’ etre for our intervention within the public space".
There is hope that honourable members of parliament will take on the gauntlet of being genuine collaborators in development with us in good faith because it is only when there is such synergy, peace and harmony that our programmes and policies can enjoy meaningful passage through the legislature, devoid of bureaucratic hindrances or bottlenecks.
Before the inauguration of the eighth National Assembly, there had already been calls for transparency and reduction in funding for the lawmakers, who rank among the highest paid in the world according to The Economist magazine.
Our lawmakers earn around $160,000 annually, based on current exchange rates-more than their British counterparts. While the lawmakers earns so much, Nigerians survive on the N18,000 monthly minimum wages; what a shame to Africa largest country, Nigeria!
The role of the legislature, as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution can be seen in Section 4(1) under Part II which states that “the legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be vested in the National Assembly for the federation which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representative".
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For the legislature to play its roles effectively, its hands must be clean and also in order. A corrupt legislature will not have credibility and authority to carry out its role as the watchdog of the people.
Lawmaking, representation and oversight functions, the question that readily comes to mind is, has the present Eighth (8th) National Assembly are really ready to live up to its responsibilities in enacting laws that would promote good governance and the people’s interest rather than self-pursuit which turned the red chamber to a boxing ring?
The legislature has a duty to represent the interests of their various individual constituencies, rather than representing their personal interest, parties and family members.