NewsReel 13/6/15 - The Inauguration Of 8th National Assembly Of Nigeria & Supremacy Of The Constitution Over Party Bylaws & Clannishness

[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, 10th June 2015)-The attention of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is drawn over the inaugural events that unfolded yesterday (09/06/2015) on the floor of the Eight National Assembly of Nigeria particularly at the Senatorial inauguration. The official statement of the new federal governing party-APC, over the referenced events has also been read and analyzed. The emergence of Hon Yakubu Dogara of the APC as the new Federation’s House Speaker with 182 votes against his challenger’s 174; is very commendable. Our only concern in the case of Senator Bukola Saraki of APC, who was returned by 57 Senators present as the new Senate President, out of 109 senatorial membership is that his emergence did not command a commanding and commendable majority capable of soldiering his leadership devoid of rancor and bickering.

 

Though, the two exercises were in conformity with Sections 54 (1) (one-third of all Senators and Reps)and 56 (2) (simple majority in the case of voting), but it would have been more appropriate and democratically grounded if the new Senator Saraki Presidency had emerged or chosen by most, if not all the new Senators. Be that as it may, the official statement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) deriding the two exercises and threatening to sanction those elected under its party who participated including Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon Yakubu Dogara; is totally frowned at. The Party’s clear lack of understanding of the basic provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including the oath of allegiance to the Constitution is very alarming, shocking and deafening.

 

The bastardization and balkanization policy of the APC must be checkmated and restricted to the March 28 Presidential poll exercise. The Party must be made to understand that by successful administration of oaths of allegiance and office on new Senators and House of Reps members, the so called Party supremacy is lowered and subjected to the Constitution. This means the lawmakers, whether of APC or PDP, totally owe their allegiances to the Constitution and the People of Nigeria. The decision of belligerent and primordial Senators of the Party numbering 51 to boycott the inaugural session is legislatively impeachable. By its official statement, the APC encourages division, hatred, primordialism and clannishness in the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria and governance of the country by extension. The legislator-members of the Party who set aside such divide-and-rule party policy to freely choose their principal leaders must be commended and not derided and threatened. This is more so when the two referenced principal legislators are from the same complainant-Party.

 

Other than the foregoing, the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria must distance themselves from parliamentary quackery, mercantilism and lazy lawmaking, which had been the order of the day since 1999. There is need for them to embrace legislative intellectualism and humanitarianism. The Eight National Assembly of Nigeria must also realize that Nigeria is a multi cultural democratic country requiring special national legislative attention at all times. The country’s present politico-legal system is corrupted and bastardized requiring drastic re-arrangement and re-alignment.



 

For instance, a politico-legal system that promotes primordialism and signs away 80% of the country’s commonwealth into the pockets of a ruling political class of 17,500 citizens who constitute only 0.010% of the country’s 170 million people; urgently requires radical re-visitation and re-distribution; else Nigeria will chronically continue to crawl in its all socio-political and economic ramifications.

 

All categories of public allowances and overheads expenditures including executive security votes and legislative’s principal officers’ life pensions must be drastically tinkered. The allowances component of the personnel costs as well as the overheads component of the recurrent expenditures is fully responsible for paucity of funds for capital development and provision and delivery of social services in Nigeria. And if nothing radical is done to reverse the dangerous trend, then Nigeria will chronically remain empty and nothing in terms of real growth and development. Another major task before the new Eight National Assembly of Nigeria lies on the need to quarantine public loans/borrowings particularly from local sources. As a matter of fact, there is need for a national moratorium on public borrowings in Nigeria.

 

Of 123 Bills passed by the defunct Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria, which was inaugurated on 5th of June 2011 and wound up on 4th June 2015, out of 1,068 Bills introduced; only nine are considered as public oriented Bills. The nine Bills under reference are Occupational Safety & Health Bill, Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill, Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, Pension Reform Act Amendment Bill, Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Bill, Terrorism Prevention Bill, Proceeds of Crime Bill and Freedom of Information Bill. Most, if not all the Bills as referenced were drafted and sponsored by rights based Civil Society Organizations. The summary o the foregoing is that the defunct Seventh National Assembly performed abysmally and disastrously in the past four legislative years despite squandering over N600 billion or $3 billion in the same period.

 

There are still mountainous legislative challenges facing the new Eight Republic National Assembly of Nigeria. These include the state of the country’s 33 solid mineral deposits and continuous power epilepsy all retarding the country’s mechanization or industrialization attainment. The new Eight National Assembly must revisit the country’s trade and investment policies and laws including the Land Use Act, industrial, environmental, import and export laws. The privatization of power in the country must be reviewed and possibly revoked. The new Eight National Assembly must also re-visit Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution for the purpose of re-phrasing it to literally suit the country’s secular and multi-religious status. Promotion and encouragement of any form of State religion must be prohibited and criminalized. The right to the freedom of religion in Section 38 of the Chapter Four of the Constitution must be strengthened. In the case of existing socio-religious criminal laws like Shariah Laws of the Northern States which existence threatens the 1999 Constitution and the secular status of Nigeria; there is need to return to the status quo. This means returning to the Penal Code (operational in Northern Nigeria). The Penal Code is a combination of Islamic and non Islamic Criminal laws, borrowed from Sudan. The Penal Code under reference is also overdue for amendment and upgrading.

 

There shall be create

 
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