Parliaments since the history of democracies have a responsibility to act as check on the executive and the judicial arm. This responsibility is sacrosanct and that is why Nations’ constitutions usually make efforts to give a level of Independence to the parliament!
Apart from budget approvals and appropriation, the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria in sections 82-89 also states that the national assembly has powers to perform oversight as well as quasi-judicial functions which involves passing resolutions for the removal on the grounds of misbehavior or incapability of the person in power to function well.
The national assembly is the highest forum for ventilation of public grievance against the actions or inactions of the executive.
All the Noble roles stated above can only be performed to optimum capacity when the national assembly is not only independent but seen to be truly independent! Unfortunately, in Nigeria, majority of members of the national assembly got there through the violence machineries of the executive arm.
How can many of them today boldly say that they won popular vote from their people to get there? Is it the ruse called election in kogi where guns and killings reigned supreme that brought the ‘Smart’ into the national assembly or the one in Imo where ‘uncle Okorosha’ forced himself on the Inec officer or is the one in Osun where the elections were overturned overnight and underhand dealings were employed to change the will of the people that will be said to produce independent members? Do we talk of the ‘boys’ from Lagos who don’t even know their constituents but get returned every time because the ‘Lords’ in bourdilon are satisfied? I can go on and on.
How do this kind of people insist that Buhari must respect the summons of the national assembly? Journalists and human rights activists have been under attack in this government. The case of Dadiyatta who is currently missing, what Abah Jalingo who is facing alot of rubbish charges because the government is not comfortable with his writings and Omoyele sowore who is currently facing one violation or the other in the hands of the Buhari government are typical examples of the attacks on press freedom. Have you seen Uncle ‘smart’ Adeyemi a journalist himself talk about it or any of his colleagues in the national assembly?
Today the process that brought them to power, has mute their voices! Have you seen the national assembly condemn the attacks on Nigerians exercising their rights of protest? What is the official position of both Chambers over the LekkiMassacre? Frank Herbert was right when he said; “what do you despite? By this are you truly known” . At least we know they hate a liberated people!
That is why a non-performing president like Buhari can use them to shine by snubbing them and all of them are looking shamefully helpless.
Again many of the members of the national assembly are contractors in the ministries! They are more interested in the contracts they will get from government than doing the work of legislature that they are first elected to do in Abuja. why will a Buhari now snub them?
Unfortunately, the people bears the perils of these compromised national assembly. Today in Nigeria, unemployment rate stands a 27.1%. This means over 21.7 million eligible Nigerians are currently without job, today despite billions of naira said to have been spent on power, we are only still able to generate 4000MW for a population that is over 200 million while South Africa with a population of 50million has over 55,000 Mw of electricity! Poverty is still as high as ever with states like sokoto, Taraba and Ebony having over 80 % poverty rate!
Despite the mouthing of the Buhari government on fighting corruption, corruption is still very high in the country with members of the national assembly as active participant in the game of corruption (ask Akpabio on NDDC). Today Nigeria is 146 out 180 countries in corruption perception index. On crime and violence, Nigeria has a murder rate as high as 79 per 100,000 cases in the Northeast with a record rate of 18, 422 deaths per year! Today kidnapping (even police officers were kidnapped in numbers) and banditry is now the new normal.
The reason why the negatives are high is because we have a National assembly whose majority of it’s member have compromised their voice and as such are not able to ask the president not to snub them. This may not be unconnected to the impunity that Buhari and his team now openly display which in itself is a contempt for the National assembly and the mass of our people.
We must all rise up and confront this nauseating menace and give to ourselves a future that we all can be proud of!