Abuja Lawmakers Must Be Taught A Lesson


Despite the widespread condemnation of moves by members of the National Assembly to  amend Section 87 of the Electoral Act which seeks to make them automatic members of  the national executive committees of the various political parties, the lawmakers  have remained adamant and have vowed to go ahead with the amendment.

By this, it is understood that the lawmakers plan to use their numerical number as a  voting block in the national executive committees of the political parties to  influence policies and direction of the parties. The amendment also seeks to remove  governors and their appointed officers as members of NEC, except the speaker of the  State Houses of Assembly  and his deputy.

The proposed amendment, if allowed to scale through, will also confer on the  lawmakers an undue advantage over other members of NEC, including governors.

Many Nigerians, including political parties have described the plan by the Federal  lawmakers to smuggle themselves into the decision making organ of the parties as not  only parochial but selfish.

Apart from the parties which have condemned the proposed amendment, the Northern  Governors’ Forum has also described it as ‘toxic’ and warned that members would  resist any attempt to cage governors in the name of electoral reform.

Rising from their meeting in Abuja, the governors warned the federal lawmakers not  to do anything that would make the country ungovernable through their selfish  actions.

Speaking in the same vein, the Nigerian Governors Forum rose from a meeting on  Monday and condemned the lawmakers for their intransigence.

The forum, which is an enlarged forum of the governors, vowed to take all necessary  measures to save the country’s democracy from the imminent danger of the action of  the National Assembly.

The governors also called on the people to be vigilant and ensure that the lawmakers  were not allowed to derail the country’s democracy.

We have at one time called on the federal lawmakers, just like other Ngerians have  done, to remove the contentious amendment from the Electoral Act in the interest of  the polity but it is like the lawmakers are determined to have their way.

In our earlier editorial, we insisted that the lawmakers, who are charged with  making laws for the good order of the country by the constitution cannot at the same  time impose on themselves the task of executing the law. Their intention is a clear  renunciation of the doctrine of separation of powers included in the constitution.  The Abuja lawmakers cannot approbrate and reprobate at the same time, like the  lawyers would argue.

The lawmakers must remember that the law making function is an important one that  should be carried out diligently with all sense of responsibility. They should face  this task squarely and abandon the self-serving moves to upstage the governors in  the control of the parties. It is time Nigerians rise up and let these bunch of  legislators know they they (the people) elected them to represent them and that they  also have the power to remove them, if they are found working against their  interest, like in the present case.

The Abuja legislators must be made to understand that they are there at the behest  of the people and to do their bidding. The elected cannot be bigger than the  electors. It is time the recalcitrant Abuja legislators are put in their proper  place by the people.

For the umpteenth time, amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act will serve no  good purpose and should be abandoned. The Abuja lawmakers must be made to see reason  with the people and they can only do this by abandoning this unpopular cause. We are  therefore, calling on labour and members of the civil society coalition to rise to  the present challenge and prevent the federal legislators from riding roughshod over  the people.

Going by the determined attempt by the leadership of the National Assembly to force  the unpopular amendment down the throat of the people, we think Nigerians should  rise up for a civil action to make them change their mind. Maybe massive  demonstrations and show of force at the National Assembly complex and the Apo  Legislative Quarters will do the trick.

We must not shy away from these measures to knock sense into the heads of the  legislators.

Thank God, the Senate has decided to abandon the controversial amendment. With this,  it is our hope that members of the House of Representatives will also drop the move.

This editorial was written before the Senate decided to abandon the controversial  amendment yesterday.

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