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Demola Olarewaju @DemolaRewaju
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
The recent attempts to implicate serving senators such as Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani in criminal cases seem to me to be the culmination of an agenda of some within the ruling APC and in Buhari’s Govt to delegitimise the legislature in the eyes of the masses.
Many had unwittingly (or knowingly) served this agenda by ignoring the excesses of the executive while castigating the legislature - which is not comprised of saints, I must add - but this new dimension reveals the game plan to castrate that arm of Govt and render it impotent.
The calls for the scrapping of the legislature entirely or of one of the arms of it betray a lack of understanding of Democracy and I hear Yele Sowore also echoed same sentiments at his townhall meeting earlier this week in Abuja.

We should educate them a bit about this:
The legislative arm of Govt is the most legitimate arm of Govt and the one most attuned to Democracy and most resistant to Dictatorship.

Scrapping the legislature is equal to Dictatorship whereas scrapping the Executive itself will leave us with a Parliamentary system.
In the parliamentary system of Govt, the executive derives directly from the legislature and is accountable to the parliament. Democracy itself started with elected representatives not with elected sole leaders.

Another advantage is that it provides for a clear opposition.
In a parliamentary system such as Nigeria practiced pre-Independence and in the First Republic, you have not only a Leader of Govt Business but also a clearly identified Leader of Opposition; and also Govt Ministers as well as a Shadow Cabinet of Opposition Ministers.
The only thing we can successfully scrap while still claiming to be a Democracy is the office presently held by Muhammadu Buhari and his ministers - Presidency/Executive - which will then be embedded in the legislature with one man as Prime Minister and Head of Govt.
Nigeria’s Democracy continues to grow through several phases of evolution but none has been more affected by the military interruptions as the legislature because every time the military struck, they leave the executive and judiciary in place but scrap the legislative arm.
The reason why the legislature is always scrapped when the military takes over Govt is the same reason some Buharists attack the legislature today: a legislative arm, good or bad, is an impediment to executive recklessness, impunity and hastily-conceived ideas.
Nigeria’s Democracy since 1999 has seen attempts to tame the legislature in two periods: Obasanjo from 99 till 2007 and Buhari from 2015 till 2019 or beyond.

If he is re-elected, the plan to emasculate the legislature may be realised - another reason for #BackToDaura2019.
And I hold no brief here for the legislature but I recognise that it is the least evolved arm of Govt and therefore cut them some slack.

The legislature from 79 to 83 in fact tried to operate more like the First Republic parliament that one in a presidential system.
The obvious logical counter to this would now be: “Why the need for a bicameral legislature in Nigeria? Why not scrap the Senate and leave the House of Representatives or scrap the House and leave the Senate?”

Again, that would be an ignorant suggestion countered by Balance.
Most presidential systems have bicameral legislative arms, even parliamentary systems also have the same and Nigeria also did in the First Republic with a House of Representatives and a House of Chiefs.

With Nigeria as configured, bicameral is even more important.
The Senate is a House of equal representation per state - 3 from each state regardless of size and population to make a total of 109 (36 multiplied by 3 plus 1 from the FCT).

The House of Representative is a House of proportionate representation from states with a total of 360.
The 360 for the House of Representatives doesn’t mean each state has 10 legislators - states like Kano and Lagos have 24 each due to high population while Bayelsa has only 5 and the FCT has 2.

Bicameral legislature serves two purposes of equality and proportionate representation
So if you scrap the Senate, larger states in the House of Representatives can muscle their way into passing legislations and if you scrap the House of Representatives, you systematically disenfranchise states with higher population by treating all states in the country as equal.
Legislators are voted into office for different skill sets and find themselves serving on committees sometimes outside their areas of knowledge - this is where legislative aides are important to the work they do and each legislator has a number of them - consuming money.
The legislative arm surely needs to grow and justify the huge expense to country it incurs.

Let’s not forget though that it is the least evolved arm of Govt - less than 10% of legislators in 99 came in with any prior legislative experience at any level.
Another argument for the legislature is in the area of knowing what their constituents need. This has been abused and continues to be abused but the principle behind it remains valid especially when you have a President Buhari who is not aware of anything in any area in Nigeria.
While a President Buhari has never identified any area in Nigeria that needs new initiatives like schools, hospitals, roads or electricity, his own Senator - Mustafah Bukar - who just died, had a bill for the establishment of a Federal Polytechnic in Daura - Buhari’s home town!
In a parliamentary system, a Prime Minister cannot be as clueless as President Buhari is because every other day, the PM is subjected to a barrage of questions testing his knowledge of everything including issues in remote places like my hometown Ilesha or the robbery in Offa.
If anything must be scrapped, it should be the executive which can then be embedded in the legislature under a parliamentary system.

The onslaught against senators by members of the ruling APC is the culmination of a dictatorial agenda and we must be wary of such attempts.
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