The need for reformative agenda is very sacrosanct in the legislative chambers of Nigeria because of their indispensible responsibilities they are charged with. In the global setting, the roles of legislative arm remain the soul of good governance and a corrupt free society.
Nigeria as nation-states is blessed with mineral, natural as well as human resources, together with beings of high grade of intellectualism but degrading level of high moral standard, most especially in the areas of bribery and corruption, encouraging hooliganism and most condemnably godfatherism which is a threat to communal growth and development.
However, it is imperative to note that the ultimate tragedy that besets our country (Nigeria), is not just the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people, even though, Nigeria is a nation known for enduring the bad and oppressive governance by their so called elites in the helm of governmental affairs, yet, it still demands for a positive change through advocacy and constructive criticism.
It is high time, when we all should collectively shun corruption, arbitrary use of power, illicit acts of the executive, unrealistic agenda/ manifestoes, those who have offered nothing tangible to the development of our beloved nation, baron of incompetence with kleptomaniac fingers. However, many do make the mistake of casting blames on the executive arm of government alone (Mr president in particular), without gainsaying, the Legislative arm of Government should also be questioned as regards economic crunch and financial mismanagement, because by virtue of Sec 88(2)(b) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended, ” the power conferred on the national assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling it to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it. However, it is pertinent to note that, the legislature serves as the watch dog to other arms.
Constitutionally, the legislature has the mandate of the people to carry out necessary investigation on democratic and progressive issue, with a view to enabling the parliament to make necessary laws with respect to matters within the legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws. As a matter of fact, the Legislature may also conduct or direct to be conducted any such investigation for the purpose of exposing corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws made by the parliament, or for exposing corruption, inefficiency in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.
Therefore, they are also charged to engage in investigation of the executive, but I kept on ruminating and asking myself, are they really acting in accordance with the provision of Sec 88(2)(b) of the 1999 constitution? But without microscopic scrutiny, reverse is the case, to the extent of which is obvious to the blind and audible to the deaf. Certainly, if truly the Legislators were to act in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, then the issue of embezzlement, corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency, unemployment and other acts that are contrary to public policy which have become the theme of municipal and international discourse should have been a story of the past.
Our memories are fresh with the incident that occurred in the State of Osun where a petition was written by a serving Judge of the State Judiciary; Justice Folahanmi against the state Governor, with misappropriation of public fund as a form of action and subsequently submitted to the state lawmakers, which primarily, the investigation ought to have been conducted before the submission of the petition, by implication, the state lawmakers were negligent in their constitutional function of oversight which investigation of any perceived corrupt persons or authorities is not an exception. it is said without any form of contradiction that the oversight function of the lawmakers was rubbished.
Most regrettably, the inability of the legislators both at federal and state level to perform the oversight function is traceable to numerous factors, among which are ethnicity, party loyalty, corruption, incompetency, ignorance as well as lack of sincere spirit of nationalism and patriotism.
Conclusively, the experience in Nigeria now has called for a change in the system of electing/appointing who come not to deliver. Therefore we all as a nation should struggle/strive for the return of sanity and reasonability in governance and public offices for the dispensation of dividends of democracy. Additionally, we citizens should not hesitate to exercise our constitutional rights of recall (Sections 69 and110 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria) for the withdrawal of our collective consent that made them legislators, if they fail to discharge their oversight function, we want government of which the interest of the masses will be his priority, We want a government that will ensure a peaceful coexistence in our beloved country. God bless Nigeria.
By: Adebiyi Habib Taiwo
300 Level. Jurisprudence and International Law Dept. Unilorin.
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