Alleged compromise, weak oversight and incompetence have been identified as some of the major problems of the current National Assembly in checking bad governance nationwide as dictated by the Constitution.
Keen and critical observers of the legislature have insisted that the National Assembly erred for failing to halt alleged breach of federal character principle by the President and interrogating the Executive on sliding economic indices, worsening corruption, rising insecurity, capital flight, mounting loans, multiple tax burden, unemployment and decaying infrastructure, including poor electricity and education.
The criticisms have increased in recent days following the open declaration, last week, by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, that the National Assembly is too weak to fight corruption.
Lawan, who spoke at the 2022 convocation of Post-Graduate and Higher National Diploma programmes of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, (NILDS), an affiliate of the University of Benin, regretted that Nigerians were beaming their searchlight on the National Assembly, which he said, was collecting less that one per cent of the national budget, instead of directing their questions to the executive arm of government, which according to him, is controlling 99 per cent of the funds.
National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, held that the incapacity claim was a ruse, insisting that both legislative chambers are empowered by Sections 80 and 81 of the Constitution to act as approving authority for release of the money belonging to the federation to the tiers and arms of government.”
Another activist, Josef Omorotionmwan, observed: “The idea of oversight had been tossed out of the window. Better a confrontation than a cave-in.”
Lagos-based author, Dr. Michael Owhoko, stated: “In the absence of an 11th hour miracle, when an assessment of the executive arm of government will be carried out on May 29 next year, using the economy, security and corruption as indexes, Muhammadu Buhari may likely go down as a failed President.”
THIS is even as Lawan warned that the profuse separatist agitations were inimical to nation building and should be discouraged.
He, however, advised that genuine concerns of groups or people be addressed by leaders.
The Senate President made the submission, yesterday, at a book presentation titled, “Foundation of Nigeria’s Unity,” written by Cross River State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Senator Sandy Onor.
The book gave an insight into Sandy’s leadership ideologies with regards to national development and unity, in addition to the Cross River parliamentarian’s life history and achievements at the Senate, among others.
While blaming Nigerian elite for promoting division in the country, Lawan observed that the onus is on them (leaders) to right the wrongs.