“State Houses of Assembly must, therefore, for political conveniences, remain appendages, rubber stamps and glorified democratic slaves to their slave-master governors. That is why a proportionately large population of our citizens are still democratically and politically illiterate. President Muhammadu Buhari should not allow this misnomer to continue”

Constitutional or representative democracy is still a big issue, an imperilled commonwealth in Nigeria. We are being constantly reminded again that our political elite is not yet ready to embrace and practice a democracy that works in this climes. With special reference to the legislature and its constitutional oversight functions over the executive arm of government, Nigeria is still toddling far behind. If effective representative democracy at the national level is seen as quasi-democracy as a result of overbearing influence from the executive, then the legislature at the States and Local Government levels is half alive and half dead. By inference, a significantly larger proportion of our citizens are still democratic illiterate.

 

In other words, the freedom and autonomy the lawmakers need to fully perform their constitutional roles are either robbed or denied thereby eroding healthy democratic culture and tradition. It is upon this platform that Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) has threatened to, through the strike, shut down the National Assembly, the National Assembly Service Commission, all State Houses of Assembly, all State Houses of Assembly Service Commissions and other relevant departments so as to compel authorities to enforce implementation of autonomy of legislative arm of government across the spectrum is very instructive.

 

The position of the union is very unequivocal: the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) should implement constitutional autonomy for State Houses of Assembly or else, “the union has resolved to in defence of democracy, issue a 21-day ultimatum to our employers and all other bodies charged with the implementation of letters of our Constitution, including the Federal Government, the Presidential Implementation Committee on Financial Autonomy for State Judiciary and Legislature, to ensure full implementation of financial autonomy in all the 36 State Houses of the Federation as provided in Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and in Executive Order 10.

 

“Failure to meet the above demand at the end of 21 days ultimatum will leave the union with no other option than to direct all its members nationwide to embark on an indefinite strike. By implication, the nationwide strike shall see the shutdown of the National Assembly, the National Assembly Service Commissions, all State Houses of Assembly, all State Houses of Assembly Service Commissions among others”, the parliamentary staff maintained. We are taken aback that the fight in defence of autonomy for State Houses of Assembly has been abandoned by national legislature and left for parliamentary staff.

 

Is it not very obvious that many of the present Senators are aspiring to return to their respective states and become governors. Similarly, serving state governors want to go to the Senate as Senators. There is no way therefore that this political conspirator will allow state lawmakers financial autonomy. State Houses of Assembly must, therefore, for political conveniences, remain appendages, rubber stamps and glorified democratic slaves to their slave-master governors. That is why a proportionately large population of our citizens are still democratically and politically illiterate. President Muhammadu Buhari should not allow this misnomer to continue. We support the patriotism of the parliamentary staff and will continue to give them necessary encouragements. PASSAN should remain undaunted. Nigerians, posterity and history are on their side.


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