Corruption is not a strange phenomenon in Nigeria and its the National Assembly. It has been one of its key characteristic features rights from time. The National Assembly have been so much occupied by people of corrupt mind, soul and spirit, right from 1999 till the present day. The “national cake” is being shared among these set of legislators in the name of making good laws. In fact, many have described the House to be the “legislaTHIEVE” arm of government. This fingers the fact that corruption seem to be a synonym of our National Assembly.
Apart from corruption, violence is also one of the features of the House – quarrel day-in-day-out. Respected legislators of the hallowed chamber always turn boxers once they get elected to the House. Many heads have been “maced” in the House which have led to loss of lives and have equally subtracted from the integrity of the law-makers involved and others. Series of political fights have led to the division of the hallowed chamber. If one studies the reason for this daily brawl, one will detect that it is usually caused by money and selfishness. The legislators are mostly found fighting over the sharing, into their personal pockets, money meant for the growth and development of our society.
The truth of the matter here is that, it is very normal for legislators to disagree, since they are human beings and besides, “we disagree to agree”. But, the reason behind these fights need be adequately studied. Why are they not always in good terms? If the reason for the fight is for the betterment of the Nigerian society, then, it will be a meaningful one. But, if it is for other reasons whatsoever, it is uncalled for. It is very pitiable that today, the reason for most fights and disagreement is no other than over how the nation treasury is to be looted. Let me state again, before I proceed, that corruption is the reason behind most sorts of political violence and unrest in the National Assembly.
However, today, it is very disheartening seeing the National-Assembly turning to an Assembly of political boxers and equally a home of corruption. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria establishes the National Assembly to make law for the “Peace, order and good governance” of Nigeria (Section 4). It is very surprising and equally unfortunate to see that the purpose why the National Assembly is established is largely disregarded and uncared for. The legislators that are meant to make law for peace in the country are not even at peace. The House seems to be floor of war. Suffice it to say that it will be very impossible for a House not at peace to make law for the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria.
Since last year, beginning from the period the principal officers of the House were elected, disagreement and “violence” have taken over the whole legislative scenario. The beef since that time is still on till today. Just some weeks ago, the news of “budget padding” has been the top of all headlines in the country. The budget is alleged to be padded and as such, violence and daily quarrel continues. It is even a certain prediction that when the fire of “Budget padding” dies down, another disintegrating issue will evolve; and that is our National Assembly for you!
It is very pitiable that all these are happening every time in our legislature. These daily quarrel have been a leading cause of underdevelopment in Nigeria. The classical job of legislators have been either forgotten or largely jettisoned. The business of the legislators has been frustrated by mere unnecessary political quarrel. The legislative arm is no more serious with using the law-making power as a tool for societal renaissance. All they now know is political quarrel and ethnic unrest. Wait a minute, when the “leader” and “followers” are not, for once, in pure good terms, how do we expect development and improvement? The saying: things fall apart and the center cannot hold will, thus, apply.
Sadly, many Nigerians are not taking this very serious; we are unsuspecting. The truth is that the apparent division in the hallowed chamber leads to the nation’s retrogression. It is also very fatal to our democracy. The daily violence defeats the intention and idea of good governance. In fact, these showoffs by our legislators symbolize the fact that the legislators have lackluster attitude and crude ‘unseriousness’ towards the business of law making – nation building.
This, however, ought not to be so. With the daily quarrel and political “violence”, it is crystal clear that the government is only toying with our “great”(?) future, the future of Nigeria. Playing politics in the house is not the point here – politics in the parliament is as old as parliament itself. But, without mincing words, what the writer is saying here is that the glory of this nation should not be trampled with in the name of politics. The politics which will be played in the House that will promote or bring about “peace, progress, and good governance” should be always encouraged; any other should be totally discouraged.
On the final analysis, it is the expedient to state that the business of law making is far beyond throwing chairs and tables or “macing” people’s heads. It is far beyond the noise of “budget padding”. It is more than the Saraki/Dogara game. It is beyond PDP and APC. All the above observed are just little out of the million legislative distractions. Members of the National Assembly should look beyond all these and get serious with the primary legislative business. Nigeria must be better, our future must be secured.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.