Lawless Lawmakers

By Julius Oweh
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The stench oozing from Bauchi State and Edo State is so suffocating that believers of democracy are literally gasping for air. It is the most despicable and nauseating disposition of our legislators as a bunch of law breakers. That is the irony of the political tragedy of Nigeria that those who are elected to make laws are the greatest law breakers barnstorming the political terrain. For the records, in Bauchi State House of Assembly, eleven members out of 31 met at 6am and elected their speaker with covert support from the state governor. As if to beat the record of Bauchi State, nine members out of 24 members in Edo State at 9.30pm and elected their speaker. Yet some self-proclaimed democrats are supporting this politically insane behavior.

Let me make one point clear. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of APC is not the stripe of politician that I admire. But as regards the political transgressions in Bauchi and Edo States, I stand on the same page with him. Whether some people like it or not, what is happening in Bauchi and Edo states cannot stand and is just recipe for political anarchy. The fundamental underpin of democracy is the rule of majority and a minority party or members by any stretch of political imagination cannot produce the principal officers of the parliament- be it state assembly or national assembly. It is a political coup that must be resisted by all lovers of democracy.

The alluring beauty of the principles of separation of power is that the three arms of government have some measure of independence and should be so respected. The meddlesome nature of the governors of Bauchi and Edo states in the choice of leadership must be rejected. But the greater implication is that we have a bunch of legislators who do not even know their rights and functions. That explains why majority of the state houses of assembly are rubber stamp of the executive. That is why state governors act with impunity in the dissolution of councils and the `election` of council chairmen and councilors who are party members. Both the APC and PDP are guilty of it. It is this dictatorial tendency of state governors that make most Nigerians to be against the institutionalization of state police as the governors will turn it into an instrument of vendetta.

That is why I am disturbed and to some extent incensed that the PDP, the leading opposition party and the self-proclaimed guardian of our democracy is pretending to be dumb about this travesty happening in Edo and Bauchi states. The party must speak up and be counted on the right side of the law and justice. Those legislators who elected minority speakers in Edo and Bauchi state are disgrace to democracy. In fact, they are lawless lawmakers. If these legislators can bend the rules because of a pot of porridge, then their presence in the house is self-serving and to minister to their pecuniary interest. This is not the type of democracy that will see to the welfare and security of the citizens. We must drum it into the ears of these erring legislators that the representativeness of democracy is domiciled in the parliament. Remove the parliament, there is dictatorship or monarchy.

I therefore appeal to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State to give democracy a chance in the houses of assembly. It is true that a governor should have more than a passing interest on who becomes the speaker. But it certainly crossed the red line to impose a minority speaker on the parliament. This is preparing the ingredients of a chaotic House of Assembly. On the part of the legislators, they should resist the temptation if being used as puppets. Our democracy is still very much in the gutters.

Julius Oweh, a journalist, Asaba, Delta State

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