15th December, 2010
Despite the widespread condemnation of moves by members of the National Assembly toÂ amend Section 87 of the Electoral Act which seeks to make them automatic members ofÂ the national executive committees of the various political parties, the lawmakersÂ 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 aÂ voting block in the national executive committees of the political parties toÂ influence policies and direction of the parties. The amendment also seeks to removeÂ governors and their appointed officers as members of NEC, except the speaker of theÂ State Houses of AssemblyÂ and his deputy.
The proposed amendment, if allowed to scale through, will also confer on theÂ lawmakers an undue advantage over other members of NEC, including governors.
Many Nigerians, including political parties have described the plan by the FederalÂ lawmakers to smuggle themselves into the decision making organ of the parties as notÂ only parochial but selfish.
Apart from the parties which have condemned the proposed amendment, the NorthernÂ Governorsâ€™ Forum has also described it as â€˜toxicâ€™ and warned that members wouldÂ resist any attempt to cage governors in the name of electoral reform.
Rising from their meeting in Abuja, the governors warned the federal lawmakers notÂ to do anything that would make the country ungovernable through their selfishÂ actions.
Speaking in the same vein, the Nigerian Governors Forum rose from a meeting onÂ Monday and condemned the lawmakers for their intransigence.
The forum, which is an enlarged forum of the governors, vowed to take all necessaryÂ measures to save the countryâ€™s democracy from the imminent danger of the action ofÂ the National Assembly.
The governors also called on the people to be vigilant and ensure that the lawmakersÂ were not allowed to derail the countryâ€™s democracy.
We have at one time called on the federal lawmakers, just like other Ngerians haveÂ done, to remove the contentious amendment from the Electoral Act in the interest ofÂ 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 withÂ making laws for the good order of the country by the constitution cannot at the sameÂ time impose on themselves the task of executing the law. Their intention is a clearÂ renunciation of the doctrine of separation of powers included in the constitution.Â The Abuja lawmakers cannot approbrate and reprobate at the same time, like theÂ lawyers would argue.
The lawmakers must remember that the law making function is an important one thatÂ should be carried out diligently with all sense of responsibility. They should faceÂ this task squarely and abandon the self-serving moves to upstage the governors inÂ the control of the parties. It is time Nigerians rise up and let these bunch ofÂ legislators know they they (the people) elected them to represent them and that theyÂ also have the power to remove them, if they are found working against theirÂ interest, like in the present case.
The Abuja legislators must be made to understand that they are there at the behestÂ of the people and to do their bidding. The elected cannot be bigger than theÂ electors. It is time the recalcitrant Abuja legislators are put in their properÂ place by the people.
For the umpteenth time, amendment of Section 87 of the Electoral Act will serve noÂ good purpose and should be abandoned. The Abuja lawmakers must be made to see reasonÂ with the people and they can only do this by abandoning this unpopular cause. We areÂ therefore, calling on labour and members of the civil society coalition to rise toÂ the present challenge and prevent the federal legislators from riding roughshod overÂ the people.
Going by the determined attempt by the leadership of the National Assembly to forceÂ the unpopular amendment down the throat of the people, we think Nigerians shouldÂ rise up for a civil action to make them change their mind. Maybe massiveÂ demonstrations and show of force at the National Assembly complex and the ApoÂ Legislative Quarters will do the trick.
We must not shy away from these measures to knock sense into the heads of theÂ legislators.
Thank God, the Senate has decided to abandon the controversial amendment. With this,Â 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 controversialÂ amendment yesterday.