The legislature should reposition Nigeria

 National Assembly

National Assembly

Sir: Nigeria may as well be having her best legislature long time ago. I believe the happiest news since the inception of a new government in Nigeria (May 29, 2015) is this: “The Nigerian Senate has asked the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, and electricity distribution companies to immediately suspend the new electricity tariffs that have seen charges raised by over 40 per cent.” The motion to that effect was moved by the ruling All Progressives Congress, while the main Opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party supported, saying the tariff raise was “ultra-wicked and unconscionable.” We have never had a better balanced, harmonious, and responsive legislative house, except in defending selfish bills or the bill against homosexuals, because Nigeria’s Christians and Moslems knew everything about God and His creation.

The tariff raise is a clear indication that President Muhammadu Buhari must not be naively trusted as having concern for the poor at the bottom of his heart. The budget crisis is another indication that he must be monitored seriously. Although he has reduced petrol price to N86 from N87 per litre, kerosene, which is used by poor people is sold for N105 per litre. Buhari inherited a terrible economic situation, but he still considers it a priority to sell dollars cheaply to pilgrimage-makers.

However, the legislature is not totally innocent, because if Nigerians accepted the electricity tariff increase without complaint, the legislature would have kept mute. It only reacted to save government’s face. Nevertheless, I commend the legislature and ask that it should be more proactive. The legislative scrutiny of the 2016 budget should surface with applause and monitored to fruition. In the past, we heard so much noise about oversight function, but the budgets never yielded the desired results, and everything ended harmoniously in a negative way between the presidency and the legislature.

• Pius Abioje,
University of Ilorin.

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