✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Disrespecting the National Assembly

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that both the general public and top political appointees have lost respect for the National Assembly (NASS). As far as the…

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that both the general public and top political appointees have lost respect for the National Assembly (NASS).

As far as the public are concerned there is sufficient justification for holding legislators in contempt for their ostentatious lifestyles at public expense.

Subsequent to the return of democracy in 1999, the legislature has been in place for 20 years.

Unfortunately, rather than growing in stature, it continues to be saturated with scandals.

NASS constitutional oversight functions have failed to either stamp out corruption or deliver the “dividends of democracy”, but rather have allegedly evolved into another avenue to extort Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s).

On account of cover-ups and lack of political will to fight corruption, billions have been wasted in public hearings and oversight visits which produced no tangible result.

Taking into account their annual subventions, it’s been estimated that since 1999 Nigeria has spent over N1.7 trillion to maintain the NASS whose budgetary appropriation increased from N23 billion in 1999, to N128 billion in 2020.

In 2008 lawmakers received an 800% pay rise.

Currently, notwithstanding that over 80% of Nigerians live below the international poverty line, senators collect annual allowances of N35 million while Members of the House of Representatives collect N29 million.

This is in addition to their approved salaries of N2.02 million for a senator and N1.9 million for Reps.

This in effect means that it would take a worker on minimum wage of N30,000 per month a minimum of over 100 years to earn what legislators expect to be paid in a year!

As if this isn’t scandalous enough, it’s further been alleged that the NASS is still costing the nation more by means of self-granted allowances.

With their income being opaque, the public has no reason to disbelieve former Sen. Shehu Sani’s claim that the monthly running cost of a senator is an outrageous N13.5m per month!

The NASS isn’t required to defend its budget and quite incredulously until recently there were no details of budgeted expenditure and their appropriation was merely a single line in the national budget!

Section 4 of the Constitution empowers the NASS to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation.

The current abominable security situation, corruption and economic hardship, are sufficient evidence that they have failed in this task.

Indeed, in a recent survey of over two thousand Nigerians, none of them could quote any new law which has been passed since 1999 which improved their livelihood!

Perhaps the most notable action by the NASS in 20 years has been to frustrate the third term agenda of former president Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ).

Despite all his failures, OBJ believed that he was the best thing that ever happened to Nigeria and wanted to install himself as president for life.

The nation should be grateful to the then Senate President Ken Nnamani for asserting legislative independence and frustrating that unconstitutional third term bid.

In spite of all their faults and failings, and the general public’s justified contempt for lawmakers, the NASS is an important arm of government and must not be disrespected by political appointees to whom they owe nothing.

For political appointees or public office holders to feel justified in disrespecting or “walking out” on legislators is disgraceful and totally unacceptable.

The hubris of political appointees in Nigeria is nauseating.

Presidential spokespersons fail to address citizens respectfully and freely insult whoever they please; ministers decline to appear before the NASS; the Customs boss refuses to obey their instructions, and political appointees are not prepared to render account to them.

President Buhari’s recent admonishment of all political office holders to show unreserved respect for legislators is an admission that NASS has also been held in contempt by his appointees.

The Minister of State for Employment and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo, who has been accused of immodesty and self-aggrandisement raised his voice at legislators live on television.

His hubris was astounding, and he was asked to leave when he refused to accept any criticism and apologise.

His behaviour was still better than that of the Acting Manager of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Professor Pondei who walked out on legislators and quite unbelievably gave them conditions under which he will re-appear before them!

The NASS will likely see more disrespect because the situation in Nigeria these days is that all arms of government work for the Presidency rather than for the country.

It’s no surprise that disrespect for all offices other than that of the president prevails.

The legislature is no longer regraded by political appointers as a co-equal arm of government because earning the support of the president is far more important than the support of NASS.

This was the case with suspended EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu.

The NASS twice rejected him for confirmation but were ignored by the Presidency which kept him in office in an acting capacity for over five years!

Truthfully, the legislature has been overshadowed by the executive to the extent that top politician’s don’t regard themselves as  answerable to NASS.

This is unacceptable.

Be that as it may,  the truth be told, respect should be earned not demanded.

There is little public sympathy for the NASS which is regarded as the cause of its own woes.

Legislators will always be accorded respect when they prove their worth, but in all truthfulness the generality of citizens haven’t felt any positive impact from their legislation since 1999.

NASS members appear to be far more concerned with improving their personal lot than that of the majority of Nigerians living in abject poverty.

The NASS needs to do so much to regain its honour.

It epitomises everything that is wrong with Nigerian political office holders. It has been aptly described as a place where people amass unimaginable wealth without effort; abuse women who are supposed to be protected; and curtail the freedoms and rights of citizens.

It will be difficult if not impossible for the nation to make progress with such a fatally flawed legislature.

Social, economic and political progress will continue to move at snail’s pace until the NASS rectified its reputation for corruption, incompetence and insincerity and regains the respect at least of public officers, if not the general public.

LEARN AFFILIATE MARKETING: Learn How to Make Money with Expertnaire Affiliate Marketing Using the Simple 3-Step Method Explained to earn $500-$1000 Per Month.
Click here to learn more.

AMAZON KDP PUBLISHING: Make $1000-$5000+ Monthly Selling Books On Amazon Even If You Are Not A Writer! Using Your Mobile Phone or Laptop.
Click here to learn more.

GHOSTWRITING SERVICES: Learn How to Make Money As a Ghostwriter $1000 or more monthly: Insider Tips to Get Started. Click here to learn more.
Click here to learn more.

SECRET OF EARNING IN CRYPTO: Discover the Secrets of Earning $100 - $2000 Every Week With Crypto & DeFi Jobs.
Click here to learn more.