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Ninth Assembly and dangers of a pliant legislature to Nigeria’s democracy.

Ninth Assembly and dangers of a pliant legislature to Nigeria’s democracy.

It’s believed that Greek philosopher, Plato, contrived the “rule of law” concept. Whereas he, Plato, alluded to benevolent dictatorship as the best form of government, Aristotle triggered the debate as to whether it was better for a king to rule by discretion or by rule of law. Both positions are debatable. The argument here is law is a system of rules which are independent of the ruler himself. It, therefore, becomes a matter of utmost concern and deep reflection for a ruler, who’s not the drafter of the set rules, to become discretionary when applying the rule of law. 

It needs to be reiterated here and now that ours is not a dictatorship, a monarch, or an absolute environment. Ours is a democracy, which does not in any way, mean bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for a people. The basic meaning of the word democracy has not been lost on us, I guess. 

The system is anchored on absolute respect for what the law says, and never on the leadership, or rulership as the case may be. Above all else, the three arms of government, executive, legislative, and judiciary are independent of one another. Their roles are clearly defined as well, the extant laws, or provisions of the constitution, as amended, are not in any way ambiguous or cryptic, and where there is confusion or conundrum, the court bears the burden of interpretation. 

However, the events of the past two years at the national assembly have completely turned logic on its head and made a mess of even the most elementary tenets of democracy. The 9th assembly, which is expected to serve as the bulwark against executive tyranny, has become the instrument of oppression in the hands of the executive. No thanks to the pliant and amenable principal officers of the Federal legislative body. 

The penchant of the principal officers of the ninth assembly to kowtow to the demands and odious whims of the reckless president Muhammadu Buhari-led executive has earned them an uncomplimentary and demeaning label of a rubber stamp. On many occasions, the senate president, Ahmad Lawan, and speaker of the house of Representatives have forced through a bill despite vehement opposition from members of the public and other lawmakers who are not positively disposed to their shenanigans. 

Lawan has come under heavy criticism from members of the public, owing to the submissive and amenable disposition of the senate under him to the executive. He’s viewed by many as an obsequious senate president who will do anything to please Buhari. His attitude to the business of lawmaking has been described as an affront to the separation of power. 

From the electoral reform Bill to controversial petroleum industry bill to approval of atrocious loans, Lawan and Gbajabiamila have repeatedly shown that the welfare of the people they represent is inconsequential and that what’s of utmost importance is that their interest and anything that pleases the lord of Manor and his cohort at Aso Rock. 

As if their legislative rascality is not enough, Lawan took his obsequiousness and insidious deference to Buhari a notch higher some weeks back when he hijacked the responsibilities of Yusuf Dodo as aide-de-camp (ADC) to President Buhari. 

In viral pictures online, a fawning Lawan was seen pulling out a chair for Buhari.

Lawan’s action of setting up the Buhari’s seat is the responsibility of the president’s aide-de-camp (ADC).

The office of the ADC is saddled with the task of providing security and protection for the president and his family in conjunction with other security agencies.

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The ADC also attends to the personal needs of the president and other issues that affect his functioning as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In some of the pictures from the meeting, Lawan is seen assisting the president to take his seat even though Dodo, Buhari’s ADC, was within touching distance.

In a country with not so many politically conscious citizens, a lot will not know the repercussions and dangers of ninth assembly actions regarding its relationship with the executive arm of government, a country where the executive has the legislature at its beck and call has, knowingly or unknowingly, left the shores of democracy for the enclave of dictatorship. 

And with the servile disposition of the ninth assembly and its inability to check the excesses of the executive, Nigeria might have well begun its descent into dictatorship. 

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