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We are in monarchy, not democracy – Former Speaker, Yakubu Dogara declares



After a long silence since the conclusion of the 2023 General elections, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has declared that Nigeria is indeed in a monarchy not a democracy considering recent steps so far taken by the President Bola Tinubu-led APC administration.

Yakubu Dogara said that, “For those who doubt that we are in a monarchy not democracy, let me just point at one recent example. After the Executive had raised Trillions of Naira by means of ways and means not only in the absence of express
legislative authorization but in violation of the express provisions of Section 38 of the CBN Act of 2007 as amended, the Parliament was asked to approve the advances to the government which had risen from just about N789.6 billion in May, 2015, to N22.7 trillion in 2023.”

The assertion was contained in a paper he delivered at a 1-Day Technical Session for Speakers of State Houses of Assembly organized by PERL-ECP in collaboration with the Conference of Speakers held in Abuja on Thursday, with the theme: Effective Leadership for Emerging Legislatures: Lessons, Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendation.

He stressed that, “Section 38 of the CBN Act of 2007 above referred to empowers the Bank to grant temporary advances to the government.

But sub-Section 2 there ofclearly circumscribes the amount that can be so advanced to the government in the words of the sub section, “Total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five per cent of the
previous year’s actual revenue of the federal government”.

According to him, “The next subsection is also quite clear on the repayment of such advances, stating in express terms that they shall be repaid “As soon as possible and shall, in any event, be repayable by the end of the Federal Government financial year in which they are granted and if such advances remain unpaid at the end of the year, the power of the Bank to grant such further advances in any subsequent years shall not be exercisable unless the outstanding advances have been repaid”.

Dogara added that, “In the days when the powers of the legislature were in ascendancy, such a request from the Executive would be declared dead on arrival. The Parliament was in a quandary of monumental propositions because even if it had amended the CBN Act like it was subsequently done in one fell swoop, such a measure can not confer legality on violations of the the laws that have taken place before the amendment.

“Only a rogue legislature would give any legislative measure a retrospective effect. But to demonstrate that we are led by the whims of powerful individuals and not the law, this manifestly and patently illegal advances of a whooping N22.7trillion was passed by one of the Houses of the national parliament.”

The former Speaker added that, “Thankfully, the other House didn’t even look at it. This is just one example, so many such cases are becoming routine in legislatures at all levels. Where there is effective leadership in a legislature that is alive to its responsibilities, the executive can not approach the legislature to put a legislative stamp on such brazen illegality.”

He then told the Assembly Speakers that, “You have been called to provide leadership in Institutions that are the safeguards of our liberty. Let me end my boring presentation by charging you, irrespective of how you emerged, to spare no effort in checking executive excesses and holding the executive to account.

“May you find the courage to take up your places as the guard rails of our democracy so that we can salvage our democracy that is said to be in recession at the moment. Always remember the saying that, “liberty is as rare as it is fragile. Wedged uneasily between tyranny and anarchy,” he wished.

He further said that, “You must never allow the Executive to drop an elbow on our democracy’s throat. Until you make the legislature grow in strength in relation to the executive and other parties, history will not be kind to you. For you to be said to be an effective leader, obstacles that deter others must spur you on. 10. Thank you for your patience. May God bless Nigeria.”

READ ALSO:Dogara a political liability, his political demise eminent —Bauchi group

In order to be able to lead effectively, Yakubu Dogara recommended that the Speakers work to strengthen what have been discussed under opportunities in addition to regularly seeking feedbacks from colleagues, committee members, and mentors if need be to identify areas for improvement and realign your approach accordingly.

He also said that, “You must also strive to lead by example, demonstrating integrity, empathy, and resilience in your actions and decisions. Also do all within your powers to invest quality time in building strong relationships with your colleagues to pave the way for you to understand their strengths and
aspirations so that you can provide developmental opportunities to caterfor their individual shortcomings and develop their leadership skills.”

According to him,”Since the bane of our legislatures has been an overbearing executive at all level resulting into a situation where the executive will do as it will while the legislatures must do as they must, you must summon the courage to end this scourge that has crippled our democracy.”

“We have watched with dismay how legislators are locked out, tear-gassed and prevented from sitting at sub national levels by the executive and at the national level, executive agents have severally breached the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly,” he stressed.

He also said that, The most bizarre incident was when some undertakers went into the senate chambers when senate was in session and carted away the maze in broad daylight without been accosted by any security agent. That was the height of it.

Why are these daring attempts to overtake arms of government which by our constitution qualify as treason never
investigated much less prosecuted? The answer is they have the backing of
heads of the executive who enjoy immunity under the constitution.”

Yakubu Dogara said that in order to put a stop to constant harassment of the legislature by the executive, “I recommend that you rejig our laws to create the office of the Independent Counsel at both national and sub-national levels as obtains in the US.”

He stressed that, “The parallel here is that Congress’s concern with the exercise of executive power was reflected in the passage, following the Watergate scandal, of the Independent Counsel Act of 1978, which created the Office of Independent Counsel to investigate executive misconduct and report on possible impeachable offenses to the Congress.”

The Former Speaker added that, “The Media Independent counsel’s conclusions may lead to the prosecution of the heads of Executive who assault our democratic institutions after completing their tenures even if they survived impeachment while in office.

He added that,”Shortly after its passage, the law was challenged before the US Supreme Court as a violation of separation of powers, on the grounds that the prosecutorial authority it created was, by definition, independent of the Executive branch (to which branch the Constitution assigns the prosecutorial task) and that it involved members of the judiciary in the selection of the independent counsels.”

“The Act was upheld by a 7 to 1 vote
of the Supreme Court in Morrison v. Olson (1988). Without resolving our Supreme Court’s ethical conundrum, I am not sure how it may decide if such a matter comes up before it in spite of this precedence but you should not relent if we must save the legislature from continuous humiliation and public scorn,” he stressed.

He further stressed that,”I am also strongly of the view that if we must end executive quest to dominate, subjugate, emasculate and humiliate the legislature then you must summon the rare courage to alter Sections 143 and 188 of the 1999
Constitution in order to make impeachment of heads of the Executive at
State and National levels who will not maintain fidelity to their oaths of office, especially those who specialize in attacking democratic institutions
or screening those that are procured to attack them, more probable than

Dogara concluded saying,”I have always maintained that the Constitutional provisions on impeachment in our constitution have no teeth and that there is no act of stupidity greater than leaving the execution of laws in the hands of those who know beyond reasonable doubt that they will not suffer any consequences for violating the laws while in office or out of office. Until we cure this malady, we will continue to live under a monarchy not democracy as is currently the case.”

By Yemi Kanji,

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