Over the past weeks; I have complained about the many vagueness, lacunas and mischiefs present in Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended. This has led to many confusion, executive and legislative overreach as well as as judicial shenanigans since 1999. To make matters worse; all the military decrees in force as at 1999, were all absorbed as Acts of NA and remain valid till today except if specifically repealed by the NA. Hence, we have many Acts that conflicts with the Constitution and the confusion becomes even more confusing.
This constitutional self mutilation has therefore given many judges the latitude to make judgements that stretches the sensibilities of the constitution. Lack of judicial fidelity to the texts of the constitution either due to corruption, ignorance or sheer laziness has hampered the development of our jurisprudence in a very bad way. The NA is the most important body in a democracy, because it is the custodian of the self-adaptive lifeline that keeps democracy responsive to the wishes and needs of the people.
A pro-active & effective NA will be so adept at updating our laws that the courts will have no opportunity for judicial activism. Sadly, most Nigerians focus too much on the Executive Arm and who occupies them that the Legislature has been more or less ignored. Most Nigerians bother more who is the Governor or President that who occupies the SoA or NA. This is sad.
Consequence of the citizens abdication of their democratic intelligence has given the crooked political elite the opportunity to fill the Legislature with the illiterate, immature, compliant, unintelligent, lazy, greedy and corrupt army of human robots who represents the worst of us. This is particularly the case in the SHoAs across Nigeria. We are supposed to be getting better as a Nation but our legislature are getting worse.
13 yrs ago the Senate during screening; interviewed some candidates for two hrs, asking real and cogent questions….but today, they simply ask them to Bow and go after 5mins mostly. How is that progress. Hillary Clinton; an ex First Lady and ex Senator, was screened for 16hrs before becoming the American Secretary of State. That is a Legislature that knows their duty and have competent hands to carry it out. With half of them asleep or on a frolic of their own, our Senator so far, do not paint themselves in good colour in this 9th Assembly. Where is the intellectual rigour? When is the Check and balance function.
One of the final rule passed by the 8th Senate was that the President must submit the names of his nominees with portfolio to make screening more meaningful. The first thing Sen Lawan did as Senate President of the 9th NA was to abolish that rule and give the Executive liberty to avoid real scrutiny. If we are to develop as a proper democracy; we must beef up the calibre of people in the Legislature. That was my criticism of the many Youth who all wanted to be President in the last election. Many would have stood a better chance in the Legislative elections.
To build Nigeria, we must have an effective, intelligent, proactive, bold and transformational Legislature at all levels. Until we see an effective legislature, we will never see an effective Executive. What is the incentive to do the right things when there is nobody to hold you accountable in a meaningful way. As we plan for the next general election; all the Nigerian youth should come together; and invade the Legislature by standing as candidates and voting for new law makers. Until this is done; any attempt at Executive change or good governance will fail. This is a predictable outcome from the lessons of our history.