Public Affairs Analyst, Emmanuel Ajibulu pens opinion piece calling for all key members of the party have a say in the decision-making process of NASS Presiding Officers, makes case for Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation as best man for the job
By Emmanuel Ajibulu
As the only legitimate arm of government endowed with the mandate of ensuring that good governance is sustainably delivered to the citizenry, Nigerian people are now of higher expectations to see a legislature that is alive to its obligations no matter whose ox is gored.
This further explains why every attention is today on the quality of leadership as well as the policy direction of the legislative agenda of the 10th National Assembly.
Equally, there is a growing consciousness that tends to take away from the lawmakers-elect their exclusive rights and privileges about electing their presiding officers without external influence. Most Nigerians now want to have a say in the process just to achieve an expected and fruitful outcome.
Although, there are different perspectives to the choosing of Congress or parliament and, in Nigeria’s case, the National Assembly leaders. However, in a democratic setting, the selection of such leaders should ideally be based on their qualifications, cognate experience, national acceptability, and capacity to represent the interests of their constituents. While party leaders may have a say in the selection of NASS leadership, it is important to ensure that the process is not only transparent and inclusive but also that all key members of the party have a say in the decision-making process so that it is not left solely in the hands of a small or biased clique of party elites with a preponderance of questionable criteria as a basis for the endorsement.
In most cases where political leadership dictates, the tendency can lead to concerns about nepotism, cronyism, undue favouritism and the exclusion of qualified candidates who do not have the support of the party leadership for one reason or the other.
It must also be duly recognised that the concept of the Separation of Powers is immutably flawed and therefore bridged and rigged once the NASS is denied the unfettered power to choose its own leaders according to its own rules.
The principle of separation of powers is a fundamental concept in democratic governance that divides the power of a government into separate branches, each with its own distinct responsibilities and functions. In a democracy, the separation of powers is an essential safeguard against authoritarianism and tyranny, and it helps to promote transparency, accountability, and the rule of law.
While cooperation between the organs of government, especially the executive and the legislature, is the bulwark of good and effective governance, the way APC is handling it may adversely affect the independence of the legislature in their power to vet, approve, approbate, to oversight, to make laws and finally to act as fundamental checks and balances on the executive branch.
A rubber-stamp legislature is antithetical to democratic norms and taboos. And of course, a veritable recipe for bad governance and an incubator for a wholesome dictatorship as in places like Turkey and the Russian Federation etc.
The NASS should only be guided by the party to respect and guide the NASS extant rules and interests. An attempt to create a fait accompli situation in the NASS in the selection and election of its leaders should never have been contemplated, let alone accomplished.
Impressively, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, a member of the House of Representatives since 2007, representing Biu/Bayo/Shani and Kwaya Kusar in Borno State, is one of the few with experience and core competency who can creditably manage the affairs of the 10th hallowed Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
Ultimately, the selection of NASS leadership should be a NASS affair, based on merit and democratic principles. Thankfully, Hon. Betara remains the best man for the job based on the principles of fairness, legitimacy, equity and cognate experience and competence.
- Emmanuel Ajibulu wrote from FCT Abuja. He’s a public affairs analyst, social media influencer, writer and publisher of online magazine, veracitydesk.com.ng, email@example.com