By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume, has lambasted delegates at ongoing National Conference, saying 90 percent of delegates lacks electoral value.
Akume was reacting to the recommendation of the Conference which approved a part- time legislative system in the country at both the state and federal level as a way to reduce the high cost of governance.
Federal lawmakers in Nigeria have been widely criticized over what has been described as in jumbo pay of salaries and allowances, necessitating the Conference’s recommendations .
But Akume in his reaction to the National Confab position said part – time legislature is not and can never be the answer to executive impunity and corruption in the country, blaming that as being largely responsible for high cost of governance in Nigeria over the years.
He said that he was not surprised that such a proposal was coming from people that are not elected but hand picked by an individual for national assignment and in fact having no electoral value in the first place , to stand for and win any election, let alone understanding and appreciating what constituted elected offices especially what the legislative seats stand for in the governance of a country under democracy.
His words: “I do not believe as wrongly proposed by the unelected delegates at the National Confab that part – time legislature would help in appreciable terms, in the reduction of cost of governance in Nigeria, since it can not serve in anyway as antidote to executive impunity and corruption that had over the years been the cause of high cost of governance in the land.
“l am not and I believe other lawmakers are not surprised that such a proposal came from the National Confab peopled by hand picked delegates who are by their actions, proving to have been put together, for rubbishing and embarrassing the National Assembly peopled by elected representatives of Nigerians .
“In a nutshell, as far as I am concerned, such proposal cannot see the light of the day because those who put the present legislative system in the country in place, going by what are available in other democratic countries they modeled it after United States of America, Canada, India, Britain etc, have done the right thing for the country,
“Simply put, if they actually want to change our legislative system from permanent to part- time sittings by elected legislators, they should all go and contest election into National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to effect the change which unfortunately is impossible for them for lack of electoral value.”
Akume who however admitted that the National Assembly as presently constituted, has not done enough to facilitate good governance in the country through effective checks on the executive from impunity and corruption, said the ‘Nigerian factors’ were responsible for inaction of the lawmakers against the executive on issues of bad governance.
“Yes, the executive is not doing what is right at all as far as good governance is concerned. For example, in advanced democracies, there is no way government can treat budget with impunity the way it is always done here, but anytime moves are made on the floor of either the Senate or the House of Representatives by some patriotic federal lawmakers for the needed constitutional action to be taken, primordial instinct and partisanship from other lawmakers would set in and kill such a move,” he said.