Monday, July 12, 2021

OPINION: Let The House Members Be, By James Kanyip

Recently, the Members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly have been under attack in the social media for their supposed 'silence' over the governance of the State.

The expectations of those attacking them is that the Members should always be at vocal loggerheads with the Executive Arm of the State Government each time policies are churned out that seem unpopular to them.

Constituents have the right to demand for good and better representation from their elected Members. This aligns with best global democratic tenets and practice. However, I don't think the role of the Members in governance is to fight the Executive.

They are elected as the Legislative Arm, and vested with the constitutional responsibility of making laws for the order and good governance of the State. 

Most often, the Executive exercises the powers vested in it by legislations/laws enacted by the Legislature. How then will the Members be expected to be antagonistic in the execution of what they enacted?

Members are partners with the Executive in governance and are expected to work in synergy irrespective of their political affiliations and differences. They are also expected to check the excesses of each other within constitutional permits. 

They are not elected to be in a vocal bout with the Executive all the time, even though they may disagree on policy issues sometimes. Where this happens, there are rules of engagement.

It is unfortunate that the metric that some have set to determine the legislative competence, effectiveness and efficiency of the Members is noise making and fighting. To them, these are synonymous to performance. Any Member that makes noise insulting or fighting the Executive is seen as performing his legislative function even when there is no basis for, or substance in it.

It is the constituents that will be shortchanged where the Legislature and Executive are fighting each other. 

Where the constituents choose to elect noise makers or fighters instead of legislators, they have to live with the consequences of the choices they make.

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