Executive/Legislature Faceoff: CSOs Warn against Subversion of National Assembly

By Jude Ndukwe

A coalition of large Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has condemned in strong terms the ongoing attempt by the executive and their agents to subvert the authority and undermine the legislature, describing such move as an unnecessary distraction and a potent threat to democracy.

The CSOs reason that this latest rivalry has pushed the more important issues of governance to the background as evidenced by the “inaction of government in frontally addressing the emergency issue of meningitis that has claimed over 300 lives of Nigerians while the executive/legislature bickering lasted”.

Consequently, the coalition has vowed to stage a protest to drive home their message that the independence of the legislature must be respected and the democratic principles of separation of powers and checks and balances must be adhered to by all arms of government.

This was contained in a statement signed by Ariyo-Dare Atoye, The Co-Convener of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), Jude Ndukwe, Convener, Movement for the Advancement of National Transformation (MANTRA), and Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians.

The statement read thus: “As we join other CSOs to march against the attempt to kill the legislature and undermine democracy, on Thursday, April 6, 2017, commencing at Eagle Square by 9am, it has become highly imperative for us to be vigilant about the relentless insistence by anti-democratic forces to bring our highly cherished freedom and democracy to their knees.

“While we also insist on National Assembly (NASS) opening its books for public scrutiny and ensure transparency in all its activities, make laws that would improve the lives of the people they represent and repeal any law that serves only the interest of a few highly placed citizens to the detriment of a majority of the people, we call on the executive and its agents to respect the rule of law guiding its working relationship with the NASS.

“It's ours and the responsibility of every patriotic and democracy loving Nigerian to protect and defend our hard earned democracy against those trying to return us to the very dark days of the military era.

“We wish to state that Nigerians are very much aware that the current onslaught against NASS is nothing but just a puerile battle for 2019, and nothing based on good governance or interest of the people!

“We can no longer afford the luxury of these unnecessary distractions. The unholy attempt to kill NASS must stop now!

“Instead of killing NASS, let us merge Aso Rock with NASS with a view to returning the country to the more cost-effective Parliamentary System of government which we once practiced as a nation at independence and which would also still better serve the interest of the people.

“Kindly join us!!!” The statement concluded