Is that how a Nation develops ...

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

Democratic governance has come to be accepted as one of the best forms of governance among the so called most developed nations of the world.

The developing nations are being encouraged and sometimes forced to adopt democratic forms of governance as signs of true emancipation and growth, such that whoever does not democratize belongs to the uncivilized.

We have accepted this as if they are divine mandates. But does our situation suit the practice of democracy? Or rather does democracy with all its paraphernalia find its feet among us? Do we make the necessary progress with democracy? That is to say, is democracy effective and beneficial among us? Opinions could be divided as there are persons.

But the truth remains that questions about the functionality of democracy in Nigeria should be raised and honest answers sought. One important way of doing this analysis is to look at the operational structures of democracy and assess their effectiveness or otherwise.

Of all the structures that make democracy what it is, the legislative organ of governance is the most crucial. This organ deals with enactment and provision of laws. It is called the Legislative arm of government. It exists at the Local, State and Federal levels of government.

While the Councilors and House of Assembly men and women constitute these arms at the local and state levels, the Houses of Representatives and the Senate constitute the Federal legislative arms at the Federal level. These could also be called the lower and upper chambers of the legislative houses.

In the light of the foregoing it is essential to ask how these structures work for the good of the nation. That is to say, how do the different legislative arms of government operate at the various levels of governance in Nigeria? This is a million naira question. We would like to begin briefly with the highest legislative chambers.

What happens at the national assemblies? Your guess is as good as mine. Here public bills are supposed to be passed into laws through the rigorous process of debates, lobbyings and consultations with the other relevant arms of government like the Executive arms in the spirit of mutual balance of powers.

It is surprising that some of our men and women of the legislative arms of government do not attend the periodic sittings in both houses of the law. A good number are most times bodily present.

They do not propose any bills. Neither do they argue for or against any of such proposals. They are unfortunately there to collect their sitting allowances while others are in the field doing the so called over-sight functions thereby monitoring the inflow and outflow of their business and contract transactions.

Their constituency offices are never functional. And their constituency projects are never executed anywhere beyond their private pockets and among their hired charlatans.

These hawks become useless representatives of their constituencies, whose voices are never heard and whose presence in the houses are never felt. What a parody of representation!

... go back to the You and Politics page.


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