By Bukola Ajisola… With the benefit of hindsight, the eighth National Assembly is likely to go down as the most self-serving, disoriented and anti-people assemblage in modern Nigeria.
Whereas President Goodluck Jonathan handed over power peacefully albeit on the note of an unprecedented corrupt wreckage of the nation’s economy, the corollary effect of which still endangers the fundamentals of the nation’s fiscal prosperity, the National Assembly’s leadership were allowed to be hijacked by forces enamoured to the status quo.
Whereas the executive arm at the federal level gave all to the change imperative by fighting corruption with potency and gravitas Nigerians can resonate with, scoring millage in the diversification drive, the upper chamber of the National Assembly has been hopping from one court to the other trying to defend criminal infraction and holding tendentiously to the soul of the parliament.
The lower house took idleness a notch higher by recently initiating a bill that would festoon its principal officers and those of the Senate with immunity against prosecution thereby appropriating the global infamy of becoming the first assembly in the whole world to so conflate lawmaking with law-breaking and desperately legislating constitutional immunity to actualise the delicate mix. Life pension for senators is not only an aberrant vestige of a disillusioned Senate but also antithetical to the austere demands of our time.
As we speak, the National Assembly remains far removed from the tiresome troubleshooting being explored by the executive on the issue of Niger Delta Avengers, the Bakassi dissidents, the herdsmen killings, kidnappings and other urgent matters of national importance.
On the contrary, what we have are thoughtless summons of government officials who dare to challenge legislative impunity in the National Assembly.
The National Assembly remains insular to the issue of restructuring even though everyone knows that restructuring is at the behest of the National Assembly to initiate a constitutional platform for a referendum. Self-serving Nigerians have latched on this legislative lacuna to harangue President Muhammadu Buhari to abandon his governance agenda and begin to implement former President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Conference report.
It is disheartening that the gale of overweening self-entitlement looming large at the National Assembly is driving the country to the precipice with the principal officers now on autopilot of legislative obstructionism.
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress should for the love of the country forget the politics of rent seeking and compensatory entitlement based on political patronage.
Nigerians did not vote for Buhari to use scarce national resources to patronise sponsors of his election. The President’s body language on political patronage is clear and Nigerians are standing by him on this, so the earlier the APC apparatchik realised this and came out of hibernation to lend a political solution to the abnormally at the National Assembly, the better for the country.
Lastly, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu’s belligerent posture as the second man in the National Assembly, relying on the braggadocio of number even though convention reserves his seat for an APC lawmaker is unhelpful.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ekweremadu should forge a bipartisan compromise to save the legislature for when the chips are down and the embattled Senate headship would use impeachment as the last option to scuttle the will of the people, contingency of number may give way for the exigencies of a positive national consensus on the Buhari Presidency.
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