2019: The rising political bears

Posted by Akanimo Sampson | 27 October 2018 | 865 times

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•Speaker Dogara

For those quite familiar with animal lores, bears are large dogs found all around the world. Most are said to be nocturnal and solitary. They are generally classified as carnivores. For those who know better, most species have adapted various herbivorous traits. For instance, the giant panda is said to have a diet that primarily comprises of bamboo. Most other species of bear tend to hunt fish over land animals, though it is not uncommon for bear to eat fish.

In Viking northern Europe, the local people believed that by wearing a skin made of bear, the wearer will adopt the powerful characteristics of the bear such as strength and courage. Legend however, has it that the word berserk is said to originate from this belief.

Most importantly, when bear as a spirit animal stands with anyone, there is the assurance of renewed power and courage. Whatever adversity one or a group faces, bear holds you firm and keeps you grounded until hardship pass. That appears to be what the Legislative arm of the Federal Government of Nigeria is turning into ahead of the 2019 polls.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Monday said what is expected of modern legislatures goes beyond the traditional role of representation, law-making and oversight. “The Legislature in Nigeria must serve a greater purpose within wider national democratisation processes,” he said.

By implication, Dogara is saying that Nigerian lawmakers are coming to terms with the fact that democratisation is a process and that democracy has infused many struggles against monarchical absolutism, working-class struggles, and the suffragette movement.

Going by the political language of the Speaker, democratisation is not just a story of political change. It is reference point in understanding political change throughout the world. It follows therefore, that human welfare has to be defined not only in terms of freedom from hunger and poverty but also respect for individual dignity. Since the regime change in Nigeria in 2015, it appears there is no respect for individual dignity.

America, whose democratic model Nigeria is following recognises that long-term, sustainable development is closely linked to sound democratic governance and the protection of human rights.  Washington views the democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) sector not in isolation but as a critical framework in which all aspects of development must advance together.

Their projects in health, education, climate change, and food security will not be effective and sustainable unless they work to: Support legitimate, inclusive and sound governance. Protect the basic rights of citizens. Support stable and peaceful democratic transitions.

Scholars in this field have been consistent in their submissions that some of the most fundamental questions discussed in global politics tend to rely on the purchase of democratisation as a concept. For instance, how globalisation might be regulated, whether countries like Nigeria (since 1999) have achieved democratic consolidation, or whether democratisation enhances the prospects for peace. In recent years, the Nigerian people have been witnessing a novel pattern of killings, and worsening ethnic/religious divide.

In spite of the sad happenings in Nigeria, democratisation in essence, contains at its core two distinct and closely related aspects: a process by which political life changes and a normative view of political life that makes statements about how political communities should behave.

As Dogara rightly pointed out, over the last two decades, the National Assembly has transitioned from being the weaker institution to becoming a strong and capable agent of change.  According to him, “Our activism in the area of law-making is attested to by the unprecedented record we have set in the area of law-making. Some of these laws are specifically designed to stimulate economic growth and promote competition. We have also successfully intervened in crises situations to save the country from avoidable collapse.”

In a seeming frantic bid to attain stable, strong and effective governance in Nigeria, Dogara is insisting that the Legislative arm of government must receive priority attention in terms of capacity building.

He was speaking while delivering an address on, “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 explained that because the Legislature is 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.

Making a case for strengthening in institutions to produce good governance, Dogara added that 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, adding that truth 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.

Continuing, he said: “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.”

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.

Speaking of efforts made in the last two decades by the legislature to provide better governance in Nigeria, he said the National Assembly, among other things, has set unprecedented record in the area of lawmaking, which has translated to stimulating economic growth and prompting competition.

While commending the bond between National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and University of Benin (UNIBEN) for collaborating on the academic programmes, he congratulated all the graduands on the successful completion of their programmes and urged them to be great ambassadors of the institution of the Legislature.


Source: News Express

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