The 8th National Assembly: A Good or bad start?

The National Assembly got off quite dramatically last week when the lawmakers elected their leaders. People thought it was going to be a clear All People’s Congress (APC) victory, but the cookie crumbled just when the party thought they had it in the bag.

The party struggled for weeks over who should be the next Speaker and the next Senate President. They organised mock polls. They lobbied their lawmakers.

Members tried to get the president to mediate in the situation but they still couldn’t resolve the disagreement and it eventually divided the party.

READ ALSO: Why Tinubu Should Publicly Accept Saraki As Senate President

It gave the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) a leg up in the Senate and the House of Reps. So the PDP capitalized on the APC’s disarray and got behind the discontented candidates in exchange for a small share in the power.

With the Deputy Senate President coming from PDP, now they have a foot in the door. It’s the first time the minority party would have a man in the leadership in 16 years.

With the way things are, is the Senate and the House off to a great start or a bad start?

It’s probably a great start because the lawmakers proved one point: that they could make their own choices without being compelled to do so by their party. It looks like a good omen.

A country needs a parliament that is independent where members can get things done beyond partisanship.

The leadership of the APC obviously wants to run a system where the party decides to do something and that is what everyone has to comply with. The party even said in a recent statement that the party is supreme.

That’s not democratic. It’s dictatorial. It is the system the party has run at the state level and now that they are in charge of the federal government, they want to keep up the dictation. It doesn’t work like that.

So it is a good thing the lawmakers resisted the party’s attempt to box them into a corner. It implies that this parliament will not be one where members do as they’re told by their party.

If they want to pass a bill or consider an issue, they’ll do what they believe is best as guided by their constituency and their conscience, not by their party.

READ ALSO: NASS Crisis: PDP Vows To Battle APC

These lawmakers have to understand that they are in the parliament to represent their people, not their party. The party is not supreme. The people and the constitution are supreme.

The PDP probably did not plan or expect to share in the leadership. They just wanted to get by for the time being. But the APC played into their hands and a few ambitious moves by some APC people have put the PDP back in the game.

Now it’s clear that the PDP members in the Parliament will not be pushovers.

This is good because now we have some degree of balance. Power is not exclusively in one party’s hands. The APC still have their majority, but it’s starting to look shaky and everyone can see the party’s not standing on solid ground.

The PDP can rebound more quickly now and challenge APC more strongly just as APC did to them recently. That’s what we need. We need a strong opposition, not one that just wants to get by.

It’s also a great start because the executive didn’t get involved in the controversy and tried to influence the outcome.

Vice President Osinbajo reportedly met some members to arbitrate in the matter and there was also supposed to be a meeting with the president. But generally the executive kept a healthy distance.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Speaks On New Cabinet, Saraki Others

President Buhari said, “I am prepared to work with the leaders that the House or Senate elects. It doesn’t matter who the persons are or where they are from. There is due process for the selection of leaders of the National Assembly and I will not interfere in that process.”

Buhari took it gracefully when the winners came up and he committed to move forward with them. By this we infer that the executive and the legislature will experience true separation of powers.The executive will let the legislature run things without subverting due process. This is going to be progressive for our democracy. That is a pretty decent start for the new National Assembly.


The post The 8th National Assembly: A Good or bad start? appeared first on Naij News – Nigeria news | today's Breaking news & headlines..

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