9th NASS,-Executive relationship
For years, governance in Nigeria has been shadowed by needless rifts between the executive and legislature, leaving the scares of economic woes, socio political ills, insecurity and underdevelopment on the nation.
Obvious failings of an aggrieved executive and a vengeful 8th National Assembly were evident in cases of delayed budget passage, arbitrary arrest and detention of Senators and House of Reps Members, prolonged litigations as well as a ruthless media war and trial, among others in the past four years.
Across the globe, the executive and legislative arms of any government are described as two wheels of state that must move together towards democratic ends. A synchronisation of actions in order not to clog the wheel of progress is therefore imperative.
While the doctrine of separation of powers as enunciated in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is unambiguous about the different bodies of persons administering the three arms, besides providing checks and balances, such separation must be understood with an intent to achieve national goals.
Functional democracy therefore requires certain executive actions, policies and programmes to obtain legislative backing, while the law-making process must also be tailored towards national needs and aspirations, with the executive as the implementing agency.
For such an interplay of roles to achieve desired national goals and objectives, agencies concerned must find common grounds and create an atmosphere of cordiality and harmonious working relationship.
Against this backdrop, both executive and legislative arms must wean themselves from certain fixes and condescending expletives that vilify other arms as headquarters of corruption while trying to play safe on the dais of integrity. Both must realise that while one arm celebrates the fall of the other, Nigeria’s collective image as a nation is progressively soiled beyond redemption.
All avenues provided for by law must be exploited if there are issues to fix. Besides, who says consultation and interagency interface are not essentials of good governance?
However, both arms must guard against the subservient quirks of becoming pliable to the whims and caprices of one while the other executes actions and programmes that are opposed to national interest.
As Nigeria grapples with growing economic and security challenges, every avenue must be exploited by those in authority to ease off the suffering of its citizens. They must refuse to bend towards an interest that deepens the suffering of Nigerians and adopt coordinated approaches towards solving national issues.
While we agree that political factors play a role in shaping relationships between various arms of government, a sense of patriotism that looks beyond personal and partisan interests must be encouraged to build stronger relationships and a nation that looks beyond elections.
Already, the ministerial screening conducted by the 9th Assembly displayed palpable shortcomings with “the take a bow” phrase that loudly announced its failure to probe the capacity of those who are stepping in to man the various sectors of the nation’s development.
Clearly, the senate attempted to avoid being associated with the executive-legislature feud that characterised the two arms in recent years, but failed to effectively deliver on its duties in the process. While it is public knowledge that the executive played a key role in determining the present crop of principal officers of the National Assembly, such a subjective political privilege should not stand on the way of objective legislative business, which is critical to the survival of the nation.
Both Senate and House of Representatives must plan their response to executive recklessness within the ambit of the law and uphold the sacredness of facts in investigating failure or abuses by public office holders. Issues of national importance should therefore be treated with dispatch while careful attention is paid to bills, motions and oversight functions.
By any stretch of argument, none of these functions cast a shadow on executive-legislature collaboration as it is a relationship to build the nation and not to tolerate its failure.
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