Nigerian legislators have ceded their powers to the Executive- Don Pedro Obaseki laments
A political consultant and media owner, Don Pedro Obaseki has decried the failure of the Nigerian Legislators to exert their powers against the Executives, saying that the job of the Legislators goes beyond just making laws.
Don Pedro was one of the stake holders who graced the 5th National Legislative Conference which took place at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja recently.
He explained in details to our correspondent the problem confronting the Nigerian legislators, and why they have not be able to assume their rightful position in Nigeria democratic settings
“The thing is that the tenure of the Senate does not allow for proper turnover of experience. People don’t even know what a Senate means. Senate was taken from a Latin word, Sinatus, and a Senator is called a the Senax which means an elderly person, an old person. it is supposed to a collection of persons who are calm, who are not totally corrupt, who has a way of looking at things differently.
“If you noticed in the United States of America you see all the Senators are elderly persons, and they spend six years, and in the six years, elections must hold every two years. You will see that some states will do an election this year, some other Senators will do their in another two years. So, there are always at least two third of the former Senators sitting when a new Senate evolve and the Senate evolves every two years. Same thing with the House of Reps.
“Now, the House of Reps is what is meant to touch down to the people, so they don’t have to be there for four years. Four years give them enough room to be doing jamboree. But if they are given two years tenure they will know that in two years time they are answerable to their constituency and as a result of that they will sit down and not be doing this ‘bolekaja’ romancing and junkecting.
“is a serious business because that is what is the trunk of Democracy, it is in the legislatures and not the Executives, neither is it the Judiciary. The Judiciary is the fallout of the legislatures. Democracy cannot exist without the legislature, but democracy can exist without the Executive. That is why in a Unicameral system or a non Federal Unitary System like we have in Britain or in a Parliamentary System, the legislatures who are voted in is from there those executives are selected from.
“So, Untill they understand the fact that they make laws is not important. What is important is their oversight functions and their ability to track the Executives on behalf of the people. So, that the Executive recklessness that we see today can be handled.
“At that point if they understand the enormity of their power, that they are the once who should be feared by the Executives and not the other way round. What we have now is a nation where the entire legislative system is working on reverse osmosis, while it is supposed to be from here to there, in Nigeria it is the end to the begining and this should stop.
“And even having a romance between the legislature and the executive is like telling the police man to be romancing with the supposed alleged. That is not good enough. So, until Nigerians get that straight we will just be playing round the circle and our democracy will never grow.
Meanwhile, convener of the conference, and producer Hallowmace, Sunny Anderson Osiebe said the failure of majority of the legislatures to clinch a return ticket during the last primaries does not speak well for Nigeria Legislative experience, stressing that it was what informed the focus for this year’s edition.
“We decided at some point to have a platform where members of the parliament, the Civil Societies and the general public can come together to discuss and debate and agree on the way forward as far as the Nigerian Parliament is concerned.
“This year’s edition focused on the legislative experience, reflection on legislative turnover, governmental accountability and Nations building. This is simply because if you look at what happened in the last primary elections, you will find out that majority of the members of the National Assembly are not returning. One hundred and seventy in the House of Reps and about seventy percent in the Senate.
“So, it is a problem and it is going to affect the institutional memory for the legislatures and others. So, we feel there is need for us to have at this point a dialogue where we will discuss way forward and at the end of the day we can have a frame work that will make members of the National Assembly stay longer. It may come through a bill or through a motion, but something has to be done because we can not just continue like this as a Nation,” he concluded.
The event witnessed the official presentation of the 2022 Constituency Project Tracking report. And the event also had in attendance several past and present legislators and members of the Civil Societies of Nigeria.