Written by Godfrey AKON

Legislative elections as important as presidential, governorship – OrderPaper

A legislative focused non-governmental organization, OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, has called on Nigerians to take as seriously those they elect into the legislature as they do for the presidential and governorship elections.

Executive director of the initiative, Oke Epia, said in Abuja on Sunday that while attention has been focused on the presidential and governorship polls, it has become necessary to stress the fundamental imperative of adequate scrutiny of the legislative elections.

“Experience has shown that there is always a heavy bias for the polling involving the contest for executive offices to a near total neglect of happenings around voting for members of the legislature.

“Election observation activities, real-time reporting and analysis (even on anecdotal margins) on polling day are more often than not operated along this skewed template. OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative urges that this scenario must witness a shift for the 2019 polls.     

 

This is because the prime place of the parliament as a co-equal arm of government in a presidential democracy as is currently practiced in Nigeria cannot be over-emphasized. “The legislature is the fulcrum of representative democracy and its members have a mandate to exercise powers on behalf of the people of Nigeria,” he said.

 Epia stressed that for the stability of the nation and enjoyment of the dividends of democracy by citizens, the legislature is the arm of government which can guarantee those.

He noted that “the frosty and fractious state of affairs that has defined much of the inter-relations between the Muhammadu Buhari presidency and the incumbent 8th national assembly, which negatively impacted on governance in more ways than one, is an eloquent testimony to this point. 

“In choosing legislators that will join the president as commander-in-chief and head of the executive arm of government to run the country for the next four years, electors must be very conscious of the heavy burden this particular civic responsibility places on them. Ditto for the sub-national elections.

“The choice of legislators who will prioritize and promote national cohesion over and above primordial and parochial interests; and build a nation-state where socio-economic development will be anchored on fairness, equity, peace and justice such that all constituent parts of the federation have a sense of belonging is a very important task Nigerians must discharge next Saturday.”

 

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