The selfish nature of our lawmakers
Sir: Fair enough, the constitution of Nigeria has provided for three arms of government. This is to curb the tendency of tyranny and to reduce the work load of one part. Majorly, the legislative arm makes the law, the judiciary interprets while the executive implements. Although certain oversight functions are allowed but the constitution never authorised any arm to take up or sabotage the work of the other.
Recent developments have proven the lawmakers to be saboteurs and selfish putting their own interests above the nation’s on whose mandate they were elected to serve. Since 2015, the relationship between the executive and the legislature has been an unhealthy one.
As the adage goes, “when two elephants fight the ground suffers.” The masses did suffer from this executive-legislative feud as the National Assembly deliberately delayed the passage of the national budget for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively. In 2016, the 8th National Assembly was accused of budget padding up to the tune of N481 billion. The national budget was inflated with extra cost and the inflated sum reportedly went to the pocket of the lawmakers through dubious implementation of projects. In 2017, acting president, Yemi Osinbajo delayed signing the budget because of removal of priority projects and introduction of projects by the lawmakers. In 2018, the president accused the lawmakers of doing same.
Similarly, the ICPC report also indicted legislative arm to have hidden under the guise of constituency projects to embezzle funds. It is known that each lawmaker is elected to represent his or her people at the national level. In addition, they are expected to touch the lives of their people at the grassroots hence the need for constituency projects. Instead of carrying out the responsibility diligently, they embezzle the funds, leaving the projects unfunded and uncompleted.
Kudos to the 9th National Assembly as they have really worked with the Executive in order to move the country forward.
We saw the quick passage of the 2020 appropriation bill within two months and other policies that have aided the President in the smooth running of government. Haven’t said that, their ugly nature cannot be overlooked. Recently, the Senate president and some senators were accused to have received job slots from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, thereby hijacking the Npower exercise, an initiative meant to better the lives of the ordinary masses. Although the Senate has come out to deny the report but as they say, in every rumour there must be an atom of truth. Just as the nation was about to come out of that, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, made another shocking revelation on how the legislators want to take control of the special public works.
Another programme of the Executive meant to cater for the poor Nigerians. As usual, they want to be in charge of the programme in order to determine “who gets what, when and how.” With this, they can fill in their own candidates and leave the vulnerable people to their own mercies. And because the honourable minister refused to fall into their bidding, they purportedly suspended the 774,000 jobs selection process. This is another selfish move on the part of the parliament. These are set of people sitting on fat salaries and allowances. They seem not to be contented with that. Many have agitated for the slash of their pay, reduction in the numbers or even putting them on part-time base. While all these are yet to be actualised, the least they can do is to focus on their principal task which is to cooperate with the Executive to filter policies that can benefit the lives of Nigerians instead of sabotaging and looting.
Adama Umar Ayuba wrote from Abuja.