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National Assembly as undertakers of Nigeria’s democracy

The irony of the peoples plight since the advent of democratic rule in 1999 is that Nigerians who sacrificed blood and sweat to install it after agonizing years of military misrule have unfortunately been treated repeatedly to legislative shows of shame by the legislature which is the bastion of democracy and have subjugated their collective interest to the back seat at the expense of personal interest(s) in the discharge of legislative functions.

Painfully, developments unfolding daily from the conducts and utterances of members of the 8th national assembly is heart rendering, irresponsible, irresponsive, insensitive, insultive, unparliamentary, shameful and a national embarrassment to the image and psyche of the traumatised and economic weary Nigerian people.

The legislature in Nigeria like in other democracies of the world is supposed to be peopled by men and women of impeccable integrity and character which is representative of the Nigerian people, but unfortunately, the opposite seems to be the case.

One is disappointed like millions of country men and women that the national assembly which is supposed to mirror national ethos and honour in our democratic rule, have so far continued to exhibit unparliamentary and dishonourable conducts which is a threat to the sustenance of democracy and society and is at variance with the democratic wish of the Nigerian people who elected them into office.

One is saddened by the ignoble attempts of anti democratic elements within and outside the National Assembly to subject the Nigerian people to ridicule by attempting to arm twist, blackmail and intimidate the executive from carrying out it’s constitutional functions by alledging interference of the executive in  legislative spheres by the prosecution in court of Senate President Bukola Saraki and others for alledged forgery of Senate standing rules which is a criminal act and a violation of the constitution.

For our education, democracy presupposes the existence of three arms of government, notably the legislature which makes the law, the executive which implements it and the judiciary which interpretes the law. The constitution is very clear about the separation of powers between the three arms but which should be complementary in order to avoid breeding a dictatorship in which one arm of government solely performs the functions of the three arms and imperils civil liberty.

The issue of alledged forgery of senate standing rules by the senate leadership not withstanding the attempt to politicize it, is a case of criminality in which parliamentary immunity cannot stand in the way of the constitution in shielding alledged violators from prosecution.

It is an assault on the collective integrity of Nigerians for persons who have been elected into our exalted legislative house to make laws for the good of the society, to be found wanting and tainted with a case of criminality, but instead of subjecting themselves to due process of the law, which they themselves made, have rather resorted dishonourably to intimidation, blackmail and threat which demeans the image and character of the legislature in a democracy.

The alledged forgery case against Senate President Bukola Saraki and company is one in which according to law, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty and convicted by the court. So what is the essencel of dragging the name and image of the institution of the legislature into the mud for personal interest if their hands are clean?

The genesis of this forgery case stemmed from a petition by some members of the 8th senate who were also members of the 7th senate, whom, aware of the huge responsibility on their shoulder as honourable members, discovered that a dishonourable act of forgery had been committed with regards to tampering with the house rules in electing the Senate leadership of the 8th session and then did the needful of inviting the police which is the agency of state statutorily empowered to investigate acts of violation of the law. The police in obeisance to the constitution, carried out their functions and submitted the findings of their investigation to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as required by law of which the prosecution is before the courts.

However, it is important to use this medium to educate and admonish supposed honourable members of our 8th Senate, that it is illegal, crude, uncivilized, uncultured, unparliamentary and an act of legislative rascality to engage in conducts which suggesst that their actions in parliament cannot be subjected to scrutiny of the law through the judiciary which has that constitutional responsibility to exercise.

One must also warn Distinguished Honourables of the Senate to desist from making inflammatory and reckless statements which is capable of causing a breach of public peace and dragging the image of the Senate to opprobrium as an institution for the alledged criminality of just two members who are on trial in a court of law and not the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Therefore, one wants to remind Nigerians who have made huge sacrifices in the past and are still doing same to be conscious of the fact that it behooves on us all to be eternally vigilant to guide and sustain this democracy from irresponsible, barbaric, unparliamentary, intimidatory, illegal and invitation to anarchy actions of undertakers as epitomized by the senate.

A word is enough for the wise.

Nelson Ekujumi wrote this piece from Lagos

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