AS the blinding mist of the various parties primaries fades, The Hope observes that about 70 per cent of the members of the 9th National Assembly may not return to the hallowed chamber. While we note that this scenario had presented itself in 2003 and the 8th National Assembly, the re-occurring event, albeit, as a tsunami, in the forthcoming 2023 general elections is unsettling political analysts and watchers of the nation’s political space with keen interest.
MORE interesting is the fact that some seasoned and ‘well respected’ legislators were retired by the electoral colleges of their parties. The implication of this is that the 10th Assembly will be populated largely by green horns instead of experienced hands versed in the technical business of parliamentary procedures.
THE leadership of the Bicameral Legislative house had tried to advance reasons for the colossal failures of the lawmakers at their constituencies, and it is instructive to interrogate their viewpoints. According to Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the failure was attributed to the error of the process that determined the fate of his colleagues. To him, “many of our members did not lose their primaries because they were rejected by their constituents” but due to a “delegate system which unfortunately is not what a delegate system is supposed to be.”
Gbajabiamila and his fellow parliamentarians had in our view, failed to assiduously perform the task of giving the nation a befitting legislation that would have corrected this abnormally. If the legislative houses had done their homework as was expected of them by Nigerians, then the contentious Section 84(8) which sought to include statutory delegates (who initially made up the majority of voting delegates) as eligible voters in primary elections, would not have arisen’ and if the powers vested on them to veto the decisions of the President on contentious legislations had been applied, then this lamentation would not have occurred. Invariably, we are of the view that Karma had served the Legislators on their oversight and deliberate negligence of duty, on this matter, and several other matters that affect the collective good of the nation.
WHILE the argument was put forward that the political ambitions of the legislators could have been truncated by governors who doubted their loyalty, the fact that some anointed governors’ candidates still lost negated that line of thought.
WE however cannot discountenance the fact that some fell to zoning agreements of their constituting units, others got elected for other offices, and quite a few decided to take a bow, but these are just few exceptions. The most observed cause of this tsunamic rejection is that most legislators had taken their constituents for granted and alienated themselves from governance and dividends of democracy. Prior to the primaries, there had been cases of some legislators being booed and or stoned by ‘their’ people.
OVER the years, members of the various legislative houses at state and national levels had seen themselves as bosses rather than being representatives of their people. Many abandoned their constituencies, and had limited visits to festive and election periods. The so-called constituency projects and ’empowerment programmes’ have in many cases insulted the dignity and prestige of the people whom they claimed to represent. For many, their rejection at the primaries is nothing short of rewards for non-performance.
THE Hope observed that despite the statutory and non-statutory reasons attributed to the loss by certain serving legislators, there were some, whom their people judged productive, and were given return tickets. Unfortunately, these are few in number, thereby casting aspersions on the perceived performance of the 9th National Assembly by Nigerians.
THE Hope encourages Nigerians to continuously determine the fate of political office holders on the basis of objective assessment of their service to the people who vote them into power. Hence participation must not be restricted to voting alone, but incessant demand for service delivery from the people in power.
IN the forthcoming general elections, if objectivity is allowed to triumph over vote merchandise, more non-representing representatives, may also be retired. With the increasing development in our democracy, accountability on the part of elected office holders representative is fast becoming a huge selling point. So, for those who would be entrusted with power, the cane used to chastise the senior wife, resides in the attic for the new bride.
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