senateOn Thursday 20 November, 2014, the National Assembly,  Abuja had its own share of Legislative recklessness and impunity spreading across the length and breadth of the country.
On that faithful day, members of the House of Representatives had reconvened at an emergency session to deliberate on President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for the extension of the state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States, where the Boko Haram insurgents have been unleashing mayhem on innocent Nigerians.
However, that plenary could not hold after all, as the speaker of the House of Representatives and other members of the All Progressive Congress APC in his entourage were barred from entering the National Assembly Complex. This resulted in breakdown of law and order as the legislators loyal to Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal regarded the act as a political ploy to disregard his office and person. Therefore, some of them decided to throw caution to the wind by climbing and forcing their way into the National Assembly.
When speaker Aminu Tambuwal and his supporters finally gained entrance anyhow into the National Assembly, the security operatives fired tear gas canister to dispel the surging crowd, who apparently mean no harm.
At this point, it must be emphasized that the legislature remains the second arm of government, coming after the executive. This explains, the very importance of the legislators in the process of governance. That is why the show of shame displayed by all those involved in the crisis that erupted at the National Assembly is not only condemnable, but a national disgrace. In the past when there was such crisis in some states Houses of Assembly, the National Assembly usually take over the affairs of such an Assembly. A case in point is the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Now that crisis has enveloped the National Assembly, who will bell the cat? Who will take over the affairs of the National Assembly pending when normalcy returns?
No wonder that when two elephants fight, the grasses certainly will suffer. In all of this, it is the Nigerian masses that will suffer the brunt of the political imbroglio. It is obvious that the wrangling is not for the interest of ordinary Nigerians, rather for their selfish political interest.
For instance, the request for extension of the emergency rule in the three troubled states could not be attended to, which means that the Nigerians resident in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno State will continue to live in fear and under the attacks of Boko Haram. Furthermore, the presentation of the 2015 budget by the President is due, and with the looming crisis, the presentation of the budget might be delayed, which means that the 2015 budget will not be passed on time or implemented on schedule in the interest of Nigerians. Other issues demanding urgent attention of the legislators will suffer self backs as a result of the in fighting.
Be that as it may, the role of the law enforcement agents in the National Assembly fracas has not been encouraging. Many concerned Nigerians were quick at condemning the prevention of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal from entering the National Assembly as well as the use of teargas canister on him and his supporters. The action of the police and other security agents in the matter contradicts existing laws in this country. This is so because Hon. Aminu Tambuwal as at that time still remain the speaker of the House of Representatives, he has not been impeached or removed as speaker. Therefore, the law enforcement agencies ought to have realized this fact and accord him and his office the desired respect and protection.
The action of the police in the matter shows overzealousness, undue interference and created room for people to suspect that they were being used by superior authority. As the saying goes if gold could rust, what will iron do? If those who are supposed to protect, and preserve our nation’s democracy are the ones destroying its very fabrics, then where lies the hope of ordinary Nigerias.
What happened on Thursday 20 November, 2014 at the National Assembly is an embarrassment to the nation and indeed Nigerian.
Anything that is morally wrong cannot be politically right. It seems that the nation’s political arena are occupied by politicians that are morally bankrupt. There is no basis to justify the action of those who constricted Tambuwal from entering the National Assembly to do his constitutional duties.
The increasing political squabbles between the executive and legislature in Nigeria is worrisome to many Nigerians. Check out the situation in Rivers, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Taraba and Adamawa states just to mention a few. It is a case of things falling apart, and the centre can no longer hold.
In all of these, the judiciary which is the third arm of government that is supposed to act as unbiased umpire in the game of politics and governance seems to be weak and helpless. Their interpretation of the law in most cases tend to be skewed in favour of those who appointed them. The non independence of the judiciary in Nigeria has continued to hinder smooth democratic process.
That explains why it is difficult to nip in the bud the various crisis in the different Houses of Assemblies. Impunity seems to be the order of the day, and it has engulfed the political structure of this country. Nonetheless the task of ensuring that democracy works or thrives in this country is the collective responsibility of all stakeholders. Anything short of that means that the system would continue to experience progressive decay for many years to come.
Therefore, all hands must be on deck to promote, protect and preserve the nation’s democracy from total collapse.