Rift Between The Executive And The Legislative Arms Of Government: A Red Herring

By Daniel Omaga

There is no doubt that the current rift between the executive and the legislative arms of government, is affecting governance in the country. The delays to pass the budget, refusal to endorse nominees for key positions, altercations in the hallowed chambers of our democratic nation are all but symptoms of a bigger problem. This can only be attributed to a lack of good working relationship between the two arms of government especially at the caucus level within the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. After emerging victorious in the last election, there became a division among its members over who gets what and who deserves better in the allocation of positions of power. No doubt, the nomination of party members for key offices caused a lot of friction within the party. An injury that was left to fester later went on to be resolved acrimoniously, with a lot of disgruntled party members left with the shorter end of the stick.

This created a scenario where alliances and power blocs emerged within a party; a recipe for chaos and disaster. People under one umbrella now go to any length to sabotage each other simply because they belong to different caucuses, with their interests always at loggerheads.

Friction between the two arms of government is a common occurrence in Nigeria’s democratic system, but this time, it has taken a different dimension. It has become a hydra headed problem, which if not quickly resolved, will end in shame and disgrace for all the dramatis personae. Both arms of government have failed to recognise the principles of separation of power. Both sides are also guilty of political high-handedness in the discharge of its functions. While it would be tempting to point the finger at the executive for trying to muscle the legislative arm, the latter is also culpable by allowing pettiness and personal vendetta affect its better judgement in carrying out its legislative functions.

This is a classic case of two wrongs that want to make a right. What we have now is a parody of legislators who act as if the house is a theatre, a stage where strange bedfellows are given a platform to perform their macabre dance, period. The three arms of government in Nigeria clearly have a dysfunctional relationship. While the principle of power clearly delineates the need to be independent to ensure checks and balances and curtail the use of arbitrary power, it also emphasises the importance of a harmonious working relationship between these elements.

One is tempted to conclude that the current rift between them is intended to distract the masses from the real issue. Both arms of government have failed its citizens. The reason they sought power in the first place was only to serve and protect their narrow and pecuniary interest. They have no political will to improve the quality of life index of the common man, and they never will. Politics in general is a game of high stakes; hence it is imperative that government should be run primarily by men with a modicum of conscience. In Nigeria, the political arena has entirely been run over by too many unscrupulous elements in a country where finding good leaders have become a utopia. The corridors of power have become diabolical, paraded by witch- hunters, ex-convicts, cultists, advanced fee fraudsters and petty criminals. Until we come together as a people united to remove irresponsible characters from leadership positions, and replace them with good men, we will continue to wobble in a vicious cycle.

The Dino Melaye certificate saga, the invitation of the head of customs by the senate and their insistence that he appears before them in uniform, the refusal to endorse Magu as the EFCC chairman, and the rejection of bills presented to the executive by the legislators are all symptoms of a bigger problem for a nation that is dire need of purposeful leadership. We call on our leaders to stop bickering back and forth, and rise above partisanship and personal interests to consider charting courses that have direct impact on the poor masses and ultimately move the country forward. This is not the time to be apportioning blames or the time for endless meaningless recriminations.

It is also a sad rhetoric that pundits have decided to start taking sides, by trying to justify and rationalize the positions of each arms of government depending on who they sympathize with. We at Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative (BBLLI) condemn strongly both parties role in this never ending imbroglio. We are first and foremost, patriotic citizens of this great country Nigeria, and therefore have no interest in pointing out who is right or wrong. We appeal to the conscience of our leaders to always do the right thing, whether it serves their personal interest or not. We are calling on the good citizens of this country to be more conscious especially in subsequent elections that unless we elect good leaders with track records, we will continue to suffer mis-governance and embarrassment in the international community, and we might never take our rightful place as the giant of Africa.

Comrade Omaga E. Daniel is the Executive Director of Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative and writes from Abuja.

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