A former Senate President, Ameh Ebute, says the huge legislative turnover witnessed at the National Assembly will negatively impact the nation’s democracy.
Ebute, said about 130 House of Representative members and 58 Senators would not return to the National Assembly in 2023 after losing their primary elections.
The former senate president accused party officials and state governors of being responsible for the legislative turnovers witnessed in the country.
Speaking at the National Legislative Conference on Thursday in Abuja, Ebute explained that, the legislative turnover in Nigeria becomes inimical to the development of the entire political system, governmental policies and a serious hindrance to the institution-building of the Nigerian legislatures at all levels.
“By this method, the party officials in collaboration with the Chief Executives, for one reason or another, deny the re-contesting legislators who were vocal and offered constructive criticism of government policies, and nomination to return to the legislatures”
According to him, Incapacitation of the legislature in Nigeria through a high turnover of legislators, four, four years interval and inadequate funding coupled with deficiencies of enabling laws, have made the practice of democracy to be less development-driven.
Ebute who maintained that Weak legislature with a high turnover of inexperienced legislators, will continue to hamper good governance in Nigeria, if not checked, recommended that the legislative arm of government make it’s framework effective by being open to Public scrutiny both in budget and spending.
Speaker of the House of Representative Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by the Majority leader of the house Alhassan Doguwa, encouraged Nigerians to be patient with their representative, while the media and CSOs should help review parliamentary democracy to strengthen institutional values.
“The legislature as the bastion of democracy can do their job very well only when you have a stock of competent and experienced human beings.The best legislators are those who have seen it from every angle, but you cannot come in and do one term and say you have seen it all. How much have you seen actually? How much would you know in National Assembly” he said
The Co convener of the conference Mr Chibuzor Okereke, who decried the rate of turnover in the National Assembly, opined that it was a drawback for Nigeria as a country in terms of governance, funding, wasting of resources, and loss of manpower of lawmakers that know the job while disrupting the legislative processes.
Mr Okereke said the situation calls for much concern, hence the need to organize the program to chat ways of ensuring institution building.
The event tagged ‘ Nigeria’s Legislative Experience: Reflections on Legislative Turnover and Governmental accountability, featured unveiling of the 2022 Constituency Tracking Report by BudgIT Foundation
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; editing by Abdullahi Lamino