Nigeria’s Senate President, Godswill Akpabio has described the legislature as the least misunderstood arm of government, saying they are always the subject of attacks and ridicule.
Akpabio disclosed this in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the 100th birthday colloquium in honour of Senator Kunle Oyero, a member of the Senate in the Second Republic, representing Ogun Central.
The colloquium themed “Legislation in Nigeria: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” was organised by the Abeokuta Grammar School Old Boys’ Association (AGSOBA).
In his remarks, Akpabio, represented by the Ogun Central Senator, Shuaib Afolabi Salis, said a number of Nigerians don’t even see the necessity of the legislature.
“The one arm of government that people don’t really understand and it’s always a subject of ridicule and attack is the legislature. In fact, people sometimes don’t think the legislature is doing anything at all.
“But picture a situation where there was no legislature in 2007, there would have been a life president in Nigeria. Picture a situation in Nigeria where there was no legislature, a number of things would have gone wrong in Nigeria.
“Because people don’t understand the legislature, there is also a problem. Like someone puts it, Legislators are sometimes the victim of the system.
“I gave Dr Reuben Abati (a moderator at the event) a few examples. In the ninth legislature, there were some senators that even from afar, you could say they were doing what senators should do. They were moving motions, sponsoring bills and making the right interventions.
“In the chamber, roles of the legislature are three: making laws, oversight function and appropriation. Most of those senators were doing those things, but guess what? None of them returned back. This is because the metric of measuring the performance (of senators) by the people who vote is different from what the syllabus dictates.
“The syllabus will say as a legislator your role is to make law, perform oversight and make appropriation, those are the three things a legislator is expected to do. But any senator, any member of the National Assembly that confines himself to that will not get a return ticket even in his party.
“… because the metric of measuring the performance of legislators is the number of transformers…’Distinguished Senator, my wife has put to bed, ‘Distinguished Senator, my mother-in-law is dead’, ‘Distinguished Senator, I want to do a freedom ceremony from my apprenticeship,” among other requests are those of the things that people who truly vote, measure your performances with.”
He expressed worry that the elite have left the voting power to those “who do not understand the choices before them,” and asked them to take keen interest and participation in the election process.
Akpabio described Oyero as the last of Nigerian Senate’s living legend and assured him that the Red Chamber would continue to follow his footprints.