The 10th National Assembly began yesterday with the election of leaders in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The emergence of candidates was not without the intrigues of who may or may not be preferred by the President and/or the party. In the end, those that emerged victorious in both chambers were those that had been endorsed by the President and his allies.
Yet, it is important to stress that Nigeria cannot afford another rubber stamp legislature. The new leaders of the National Assembly have emerged, largely because the Executive arm endorsed them, and they may in turn feel the need to show loyalty and gratitude. However, this should never be done in any way that overrides the interests of millions of Nigerians, who are desperately hoping this becomes a new dawn.
Supporting the Executive arm in delivering dividends of democracy should not mean sacrificing the independence of the legislature, and more importantly, the oversight functions it should have. Turning a blind eye to Executive recklessness or rascality in the name of loyalty would not do Nigeria any good.
We hope that for once in the history of this nation, the national assembly will put the people of Nigeria first
The legislators have been elected to represent the interest of Nigerians from their various constituencies, and when those interests are at any time threatened by actions of the Executive, they must rise to the occasion. Reckless borrowing that would leave Nigeria in financial servitude for decades to come, as seen under the past Buhari administration must come to a stop.
Supporting the Executive and its plans to implement programmes in one way or the other must be done with rigorous thinking of value versus the price to be paid. Nigeria must never again be allowed to get the short end of the stick. Nigeria must never again be allowed to be led into a bottomless pit of indebtedness simply because the legislature chooses to be a rubber stamp.
In the ninth assembly, its leaders at different times were reported to have said they had no problems being called rubber stamps. This was most unfortunate and a shameful disposition to have. We understand, however, that it would take someone with integrity, a sterling reputation to protect, and the common sense of right and wrong, to actually know when to be ashamed of certain actions. We hope this new national assembly and its leaders will not lack shame, and resist anything that could make them to be tagged as a rubber stamp legislature.
We hope they will not allow themselves to be used as accomplices in the introduction of policies that would make life more difficult for Nigerians. We hope that for once in the history of this nation, the national assembly will put the people of Nigeria first.
We hope that for once, grown men and women, representing millions of Nigerians in our legislature, will not reduce themselves to shameless errand boys and girls for the Executive. This is a decisive moment in our nation’s history and every man and woman in the national assembly must show character and courage to check the Executive as may be required over the next four years. This is not the time to lack shame like their former colleagues. It is a time to be men and women of integrity, and more importantly, putting these virtues into action when the Executive needs to be checked.
Finally, while we admonish the 10th National Assembly to carry itself with dignity and not be a rubber stamp, we also call on them to work objectively with the Executive to ensure Nigerians get the best of whatever policies would be promoted over the next four years.