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REMOVING THE HALO OF OUR LEGISLATORS


An integral part of the concept of law,in the modern day, from whatever perspective viewed, is that: it is dynamic no matter the various infinite definitions or verbal expenditure expended on the definition of law,hypothesis or analysis thereof. The golden thread running through the warp and weft of the concept of law is that: it changes; it is evolutionary. The view that law is static is ancient as relics of the B.C.

Modern states being in tandem with this position have put in place certain category of persons tasked with making, modifying and changing these laws. For law is a product of society, and society is ever evolving , it’s only natural that principles guiding conduct therein should be flexible. Thus, in Nigeria this category of persons charged with this delicate functions are our legislators.

And lately the question on the lips of Nigerians is: are they figurines or legislators occupying the National Assembly Complex; frankly , you wouldn’t blame them for asking. For it seems they are non functional

Curiously,if you observe the scenery of Nigeria, maybe while in a taxi or in a keke napep or while strolling since the price of transportation has hiked, it might seem to a keen observer that in Nigeria law exists separately from the society; that law is not reflective of what goes on in the society. The functionality of law might seem to begin and end with the traffic warden controlling vehicles-sometimes dancing like Michael Jackson, and its application elsewhere seems only illusionary.

Maybe the the whole blame cannot rest on the legislature, but just like manufacturers of products , the primary blame rest on them, sometimes irrespective of the roles of wholesalers and retailers and what not.

An essential function of the legislature is the distribution of social goods, and that entails roads, hospitals, educational facilities and the like. But it is an open secret that nepotism has hijacked the process. So we have poor roads, poor health services and unfurnished classrooms. You might want to blame the contractors but resist that, the finger should go to the hallowed chambers.

But that is just one flavour of this bitter fruit of poor leadership

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Another way of looking at the defectiveness of our legislature is: poor welfare packages for its citizenry. For example, children of very tender ages hawk items of meagre income like sachet water ( pure water), groundnut , gala e.t.c on their heads in harsh weather and under harsher conditions, sometimes becoming victims to all kinds of abuses including rape, indecent assault and kidnapping, with obvious neglect to their education and emotional and psychological well-being. Thus, it then becomes proportionate to measure the development of a nation with how it carters for its defenceless.

To this extent ,with such matters, one would have assumed bills bettering life of the common man would have been on front burners of the legislators. But nay, instead we have bills against frivolous petition being vigorously canvassed for , as if the laws on slander and libel are not worthy not enough. The questions then becomes protecting the leaders of tomorrow or the already over-protected leaders of yesterday ?

Our legislators are collectively like the bad queen in the fairy tale Snow White. They are narcissistic, and seem only to be content with appearing fairest in the mirror. They are so caught up with maintaining their personal image and selfish interest that they subvert every other essential to attain that end.

Our mirror mirror on the wall legislators allocate bogus allowance to themselves; allowances sometimes as mundane as emulation covering wardrobe. What are they ? Celebrities ? Their bogus salary can cover that already. Unless we have the inconvenient amnesia to forget they are the highest paid legislators in the world. The irony is, as they conveyed themselves in their long convoys that day for the determination of the sitting in favour of the wardrobe allowance, they passed hawking children on the highway with tattered and ragged clothing.

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Frankly, our most distinguished senators and honourables don’t care, one bit, about the average Nigerian. Because when it comes to laws relating to increasing minimum wage or fostering equality and empowering women in the society, they drag their feet like inmates been pushed to the guillotine. But on issues affecting them they become animated like Popeye eating spinach. See how quickly they wanted to pass bills vesting immunity because that affects them.

Another example of their insensitivity is the budget padding controversy. Whether it is illegal or not , that is another debate. The motive behind it is insensitive to the current state of affairs of the economy. The nation is in recess and our legislators are playing spoils of war with our common wealth. At a time when the price of everything has skyrocketed; our economy is crippling; forex is hard to come by; interest rate and inflations are as high as Mt. Everest and their insensitivity; their mountain of insensitivity is not dismantled by the plight of the people.

It is a good thing the speaker of House of Representatives, YAKUBU DOGARA and his estranged ally , HON. ABDULMUMIN JIBRIN are at loggerheads; revelations are coming out like ills out of the Pandora box, and we may peck our nose , but we will nonetheless enjoy the airing of their dirty laundry in public.


About Michael Ayua

A final year student of law, Benue State University, Benue State, Nigeria.

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