Tinubu, others urge executive, legislative harmony
To curb incessant executive/legislative frictions in Nigeria’s democracy, stakeholders including a Kenyan Don, Patrick Lumumba and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have called for increased harmony between the two arms of government.
The duo and other speakers made this call at the Lagos State House of Assembly special parliamentary session in celebration of Lagos at 50 and 2nd anniversary of the 8th Assembly, which was titled: ‘The Importance of the Legislature in Democratic Governance.’
Lumumba who is the guest lecturer at the occasion attended by political leaders and senior government officials including Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said the legislature as an important part of government in the principle of separations of powers.
The university don who noted that the legislature plays an important role in democracy as it represents the people; cited examples of roles legislatures in European countries have played in ensuring good governance.
Among others, he revealed that in Thailand, the government of Yingluck Shinawatra was brought down because the legislature responded to the people’s voice.
“In South Korea, on a mere allegation of corruption, President Park Geun-hye was impeached. Recently, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was also impeached and as I speak to you now, the current President is also on his way out. The question is, what role is Nigeria legislature playing in ensuring good governance? Here in Africa do our legislatures bring thieves down?”
The don noted that legislatures are the bedrock in any progressive nation adding, “Countries are made great not because an angelic force descending into those countries but because the men and women who are elected deliberately made the choice that they will do that which is in the best interest of their country.
The Kenyan don who pleaded with legislatures to shun political frivolities, explained that the country can only be better if they vow their allegiance to the people and see their offices as an opportunity to serve and not to accumulate wealth.
According to him, “Within Nigeria is the DNA that can make its nation a giant but how can we unlock this DNA? I am submitting to us that it is the legislature that has the key. You can survive a bad executive, you can survive a bad judiciary but you can never survive a bad legislature. That is why if you look at the constitution of any country, the legislature usually comes first. I want you to go into an exercise of soul-searching and ask yourself that beyond the title of honourable, beyond the title of Excellency, beyond all this title that we human being think are important, how are you serving the people?
“When you are dead how will your obituary be written? Even if you are alive, will good things be said of you? You are never successful until you go down into the grave with success. Those to whom power is given must exercise that power in humility. It is said in Argentina that those who acquire power are like those who drink gin; if they drink on empty stomach they become dizzy. Before you drink the gin of political power, you must ensure that you have a foundation of integrity. It is only then that you can serve your country well.”
Tinubu, in his address, noted that the nation can only be a better place for all if there is a co-operation between the legislature and the executive.
He said, “Amid the revelry, it is important to emphasise the need to create more opportunities for the people. We also have realised that we need to do more in order to create more opportunities, better education, improved housing and more jobs for many of our people so that all can witness the full blossom of growth and prosperity.
“As a state, we have shown we can do great things to enhance the lives of our people. We have so much more to do. We need to do more to create great opportunities, better education and numerous business opportunities in the state.
“However achieving this objective requires cooperation between the legislature and the executive. During my tenure as governor, the interface between my administration and the House was very cordial. We succeeded in taking Lagos to an enviable height. We set the agenda for progress and today, that progress is being felt because the executive and legislature cooperated. This has continued from Fashola to Ambode. This co-operation does not erode on your oversight responsibility.”
In his address, Ambode said the harmonious relationship between the three arms of government, which is reflective in the governance model of Lagos State, promoted the interest and welfare of the people.
He said, “Today, we are celebrating the contributions of the Lagos State House of Assembly, particularly the 8th Assembly in the last two years, to the true principles of democratic governance through passage of bills that advance the principle of governance and promotion of social welfare of the people within the ambits of the Law.
“It is on record that military incursion into governance has always made the legislature its first victim by suspending the constitution with all powers against the wishes of our people. Therefore, the legislature can be said to be the most exposed in governance model in the current democratic dispensation, if we have to give its true meaning and relevance in a representative government.”
In his opening remark, House Speaker Mudashiru Obasa, said it was important to celebrate, considering the various contributions of the parliament towards the state’ success story of the state.