Amb. Timothy Nwachukwu, the Executive Director of Youth Advocates For Peace Justice And Empowerment Network (YAPJEN), a global goals, good governance and human rights advocacy organisation, has called on Nigeria’s National Assembly members-elect to exert the independence of the legislature by electing among themselves the most competent lawmakers without corruption baggages.
Nwachukwu while speaking in an interview with Kaftan Television, Abuja, explained that under the Nigerian constitution, there are three branches of government: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary, while the three arms have their functions cut out for them by the constitution, saying that they exist to complement one another and are not expected to operate as standalone bodies or foes.
“Democracy is built on the independence of the three equal arms, namely Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and hence it thrives on the principle of checks and balances. Thus, having a country that works for all requires synergy and collaboration between the Legislature and the Executive, which will ultimately bring about good governance for the country.”
Nwachukwu observed that; “The interference and intrusion into the legislature by the executive arm of the government by earmarking and anointing a leadership for the presidency of the senate made up of 109 senators and a speaker for the House of Representatives made up of 360 elected representatives from different political parties which serves as the melting pot of Nigeria’s democracy.”
He warned that a legislature leadership appointed by the executive arm of the government cannot checkmate the excesss of the executive or carry out its constitutionally assigned oversight function which include monitoring, reviewing scrutinizing and evaluating the performance of the executive arm of government or its agencies on a continuous basis to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and good performance.
“Where the leadership of the legislature is appointed by the executive,such legislative arm becomes an appendage of the executive commonly referred to as rubber stamp’ parliament. Thus, its resolutions would ultimately be ignored and sometimes its summons will not be obeyed by members of the executive branch of government.”
X-raying the outgoing 9th Assembly, Nwachukwu observed that the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives worked in partnership with the executive arm, even when their cooperation portrayed the two legislative houses as rubber stamp by approving foreign and local loans for the executive without due deligence and oversight, thus plunging the nation into a debt ridden crisis that may take decades for Nigeria to exit.
He advised that the newly elected and re-elected lawmakers should elect a principal officers that will not pander to the whim and caprices of the executive but would rather be responsible, responsive, accountable and answerable to the generality of Nigerians whose mandate they hold in trust.