’10th NASS legislative practice abysmal’  – Salihu Moh Lukman 

Former Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh Lukman, has decried what he described as “abysmally low level of legislative practice” of the 10th National Assembly.

He alleged that the courageous voices of individual lawmakers are fading away under the leadership of Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker Tajudeen Abbas.

Lukman, who is the immediate-past APC National Vice Chairman (North-west) in a statement Tuesday in Abuja, titled “Importance of Legislature to a Democracy” in Abuja on Tuesday lamented the situation whereby the leadership of both chambers have been downgraded to the status of appointees of the executive arm of government. 

He acknowledged the courageous stand of the 5th and 6th Assembly in the case of the alleged third term agenda and the doctrine of necessity.

He, however, said “there is deep feeling of concerns among Nigerians that courageous voices of individual legislators in both the Senate and the House of Representatives is fading away and both chambers are becoming more like rubber stamps. Partly because of the faint or almost complete absence of courageous voices in the National Assembly, the President and the members of the Executive body of Government are practically getting away with virtually every wrong decision that are injurious to the wellbeing of Nigerian citizens.

“How did we get to this abysmally low level of legislative practice whereby it can almost be said that in Nigeria, democracy equates darkness? Without going into details, combinations of many factors, which have taken place over the last 25 years are responsible. Some of the factors include the reality whereby systematically the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly have been downgraded to the status of appointees of the President. 

The former member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), noted that “the perception of majority of Nigerians is that Nigerian government is uncaring, wasteful and has turned its back on citizens. It is a painful reality, which unfortunately doesn’t elicit the kind of debate expected in the two chambers of the National Assembly.

“In other words, there is a complete failing on the part of the two chambers of the National Assembly and its members to serve as a check on the President and members of the Executive.

“Part of the challenge of our democracy is that the two chambers of the National Assembly are only accountable to themselves. The Public Accounts Committees in both chambers are expected to oversight management of funds allocated to the National Assembly. Somehow, these are issues that contribute to the current reality whereby the National Assembly, its leadership and members lost the moral authority to regulate the conduct of the Executive Arm of government. 

With that, they function practically at the mercy of the President and members of the Executive Arm, almost as if they are employees of the Executive. Using all these incentives, the President and members of the Executive arm seamlessly turned on the ‘gaslight’, which leaves members with no option but to believe and approve every proposal submitted even when they are injurious to public interests. Having served as the machinery that hurt the people, they become liabilities and therefore eventually got discarded.”

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