BusinessDay

Legislation: University don urges lawmakers to put Nigeria first

Nigerian Legislators at National and State Assemblies have been called upon to always consider the nation first and be focused on their cardinal mandate of legislation, oversight and representation.

Jeremiah Shola Omotola, a professor, who is also of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti made the call in a lecture organised for Federal University Lokoja PhD Course 1 Class at the end of their Academic Guided Tour on Friday.

The tour and lecture were part of the requirements of the Federal University Lokoja Postgraduate School and the Institute of Governance and Development Studies for the programme.

In the lecture titled: ‘Legislative Influencing in Nigeria: Significance, Issues, Challenges and Selected Cases,’ the lecturer described the legislature as a strategic institution of governance with key roles, adding that the legislature remained the only organ of government vested with the powers of legislation, oversight and representation in every democratic process but he pointed out that its effectiveness in Nigeria had been encumbered by a lot of challenges.

According to him, some of the challenges militating against optimal and efficient performance of the legislature include overbearing and too strong Executive, vested with veto power.

Omotola queried the form, character and procedure of elections into legislative houses at all levels, saying that in most cases the Executives determine the contestants from the conduct of congresses and party primaries.

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The Professor of Political Science said it was time the legislative institutions began to set agenda for policy formulation in the country through their legislations.

“Agenda setting is about what issues make it onto the policy agenda and which ones are neglected and policy formulation concerns the development of new or the revision of existing policies,” he said.

He urged the legislature as a body to look inwards and reflect on some of those things that have been hindering their effective performance, to proffer feasible solutions.

“Legislature is about representing your people; it is about making laws for national development; it is about putting your best into the work to hold government institutions and players accountable.

“My appeal to them is that they should make those three or four responsibilities their primary focus and of course, once they do that very well, other benefits will accrue to them.

“But first and foremost, they should see Nigeria first and push every other consideration to the background.

“What Nigerians are asking for is a redistribution of resources in such a way that every segment of the society can benefit,” he said.

He decried the high premium placed on political offices and their holders, making the cost of governance high and struggle for elective and appointive offices a “do-or-die” thing.

“The thinking of some people out there is that there is too high premium placed on political offices and they are asking for effective performance with less emphasis on reward and money,” he added.