Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said the imperative of building healthy and strong institutions, like the legislature, in place of strong personalities, has been the bane of our democratic experience in Nigeria.
He made this known yesterday while delivering an address on the topic, “parliamentary institution building in Africa”, at the convocation ceremony of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS)/University of Benin post graduate programmes for the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 academic sessions, which held at the National Assembly.
He stated that, “time has come to reverse this trend in order to achieve the goals of a robust and sustainable economic, social and political development, not only in Nigeria but in Africa as a whole.
“It is our considered opinion that if there is any institution of government that should receive priority attention in terms of capacity building, it is the Legislature. This is because the Legislature is the true face of democracy. In our maturing democracy in this country, the Legislature is the stabilising force as it has robust constitutional powers to check-mate the Executive misuse and abuse of power which occasionally rears its head.
“Credit must be given to the Nigerian Parliament, which has continued to make Laws, perform its representative functions and make robust use of the power of oversight in order to preserve our hard-won democracy and achieve good governance.”
According to him, in order to attain stable, strong and effective governance in Nigeria, the National Assembly must receive priority attention in terms of capacity building.
The speaker explained that because the Legislature was the true face of democracy, especially in maturing democracies such as that of Nigeria, where it serves as the stabilising force with robust constitutional powers to check-mate the Executive misuse and abuse of power which occasionally rears its head.
Elucidating further on the topic, he said a key factor in moving from a nominal democracy to democracy that delivers development results for people is an effective legislature that holds the executive to account, especially in developing countries burdened by weak governance structures like Nigeria and lamented that whereas much work has been done on strengthening Executive leadership, not much attention has been paid to systematically building the capacity of the legislature to effectively contribute to national development.