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How Selfish Can National Assembly Be?

Unending Controversy over Electoral Act

Notes for File

When it always comes to making laws that suit them, members of the National Assembly are experts. They pass such laws with immediate alacrity, sometimes within 24 hours.  This was the case last week when they amended the Electoral Act, 2022, to allow ‘statutory delegates’ participate and vote in the conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.

The bill allows statutory delegates, which include the president, governors, National Assembly members, state assembly members, local government chairmen, councillors, National Working Committee members of political parties, amongst others, to vote in conventions, congresses or meetings of political parties.

The bill to amend the 2022 Electoral Act No. 13 was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. Omo-Agege, who in his presentation, said the bill seeks to amend the provision of Section 84(8) of the Electoral Act.

What perhaps baffled Nigerians was how the bill was given an unprecedented accelerated passage. In the Senate, the bill was given expeditious consideration. In just one day, the bill was introduced, scaled first, second and third readings, respectively, and was passed during plenary by the chamber after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

Having seen what the Senators did, members of the House of Representatives who were on recess due to the ongoing renovation of their chamber, reconvened on the following day and pronto, passed the bill.

This is what most Nigerians have come to know the National Assembly for. When it comes to making laws for their selfish interests, they put in their utmost best by speedily executing it and throwing caution to the wind. But when it comes to the one they do not have interest, most of them either stay away from plenary or foot-drag with the process.

For over three months now, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are on strike with students at home, roaming the streets, yet the lawmakers cannot intervene or mediate. They cannot even hold a special session to debate the issue and mandate the executive arm of government to implement the agreements reached with the union in order to resolve the strike. To them, it is not their business.

A lot of the lawmakers cannot travel by roads to their villages and towns due to banditry. But they refused to take serious actions against the executive for failing to protect Nigerians.

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