Vena Ikem: Our Lamentable Democracy: whither the legislative branch?

If only Members of the Cross River State House of Assembly, nay, all Nigerian Legislators understood the power they have in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Nigeria wouldn’t be going through this mess.

As it is only a negligible few know. The rest only know the power the executive branch have and prefer to expand that while diminishing the Legislative branch. The root of all our problems lie here. There is not much wrong with our Constitution. There is nothing wrong with us as a people. Our leadership recruitment is faulty. We are not electing men and women of character into the Legislative branch of government.

If we want change, we must commit to electing Legislators who will understand that their role is primarily to make laws for the good governance of their people, in all it’s ramifications. And secondly, to act as a check to the executive branch in it’s exercise of it’s Power. This means it was expected that the executive will abuse it’s power ab initio. It is age old wisdom that Power corrupts.

There is therefore nothing new in telling us that the reason why you cannot perform your roles as watch dogs over the executive is it’s abuse of power in seeking to intimidate, threaten and hoodwink you into doing their bidding. We knew all this would happen and created your branch to ensure that when it does happen, you will stand up to the executive on our behalf and say, No! And if one does not listen, you impeach him or her! No matter how stringent the conditions are. Some have met those conditions before..

But what do we have?

A Legislative branch that willingly connives with the Executive so as to get her own “share” of the cake. The painful irony is that you will probably get a better share of the cake when you do what you are supposed to do. What you don’t have is the integrity to first play your constitutional role. To have the primary respect for the reason for why you were elected in the first place.

You start by compromising your own leadership and surrender to the executive branch the power to decide who leads you as Speaker or other. Nothing can be more ridiculous than that! I would expect that you would elect anyone except one touted as being “sponsored” by the executive branch! It makes common sense to admit that any leadership dictated by the executive branch will be dictated to by his/her sponsors! It is what you plant that you sow.

That’s the Crux of the matter.

√√ Vena Ikem is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Chairman, Cross River State.

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