By Hammed Hammed From Osun state

After one year under President Bola Tinubu’s administration, the initial hope and excitement following the February 2023 National Assembly election results have faded.

The diverse and vibrant parliament that was expected has not materialized, with opposition lawmakers failing to fulfill their roles as watchdogs and critics of the ruling government.

Observers, including opposition figures, have criticized the current parliament for being too supportive of the executive, with opposition politician Paul Ibe describing them as a “lapdog”.

Despite significant upsets in the 2023 general election, particularly at the National Assembly, with parties like the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNP) gaining ground, the opposition’s lack of effectiveness in holding the government accountable is a cause for you.

for example, the LP had 34 seats within the residence of Representatives and 8 within the Senate. The NNPP had 18 seats inside the residence and two inside the top chamber. different smaller events received a few seats as nicely.

although other competition parties won a few seats in both chambers, the energy of the LP and NNPP become so substantial that many analysts anticipated an disillusioned during the race for parliament’s leadership. but, that by no means passed off as competition lawmakers ended up queuing in the back of the ruling celebration applicants.

maximum of the LP lawmakers rode on the popularity of the birthday party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and the “Obidient movement” to victory inside the 25 February 2023 ballot . The anti-status quo vote casting pattern created a bandwagon effect that produced many LP lawmakers, specifically in the South-east, Lagos and some components of the South-south and North-valuable.

The “Obidient motion”, driven largely by young human beings disillusioned with the vintage order, changed into created with Mr Obi as its image.

many who did the “top to backside” vote casting sample did so with the expectancy that the emergence of legislators no longer beholden to godfathers or moneybags could toughen the legislature and make it robust.

They have been incorrect.

similarly, in Kano state, maximum NNPP lawmakers benefitted from the popularity of the party’s presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwasos. In Kano by myself, NNPP gained 18 residence of Representatives seats and two senatorial seats.

“the extent of competition isn’t fine. but, they are new and nevertheless seeking to analyze the ropes of the legislature,” Tanko Yinusa, one in all Mr Obi’s spokespersons at the last presidential election, instructed top class times.
Tinubu’s carrot approach

President Bola Tinubu, a former senator inside the aborted 1/3 Republic, turned into overt in his plan to control the countrywide meeting.

in contrast to his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, who during his first time period in 2015 did no longer display hobby in who have become the presiding officer of the two chambers, Mr Tinubu become actively involved in selecting the leaders of the two chambers. He overtly encouraged candidates beforehand of the inauguration of the 10th consultation of the countrywide assembly on 13 June 2023.

Mr Tinubu used the carrot technique with the aid of maintaining meetings with now not just contributors of his party but additionally the competition lawmakers. in the long run, Godswill Akpabio and Abbas Tajudeen had easy sailing all through the election of the presiding officials. in addition, Barau Jibrin and Ben Kalu emerged as deputy senate president and deputy speaker respectively.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio [PHOTO CREDIT: Godswill Obot Akpabio]
Messrs Akpabio and Tajudeen’s emergence changed into seen via the supporters of the president as a main win that prevented the repeat of the disillusioned recorded within the 8th meeting, where Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara defied the directives of the birthday celebration to come to be the senate president and speaker of the residence respectively.

apart from the presiding officials, Mr Tinubu similarly got close allies to fill main offices in the two chambers. in the top chamber, Opeyemi Bamidele, who served in his management as commissioner in Lagos, emerged as the majority chief. Julius Ihonvbere emerged as the general public leader in the decrease chamber.

To solidify the manipulate of the two chambers, one of the first money bills the president despatched to the country wide assembly contained a whopping N70 billion stabilisation fund for the national meeting to permit contributors to settle into their new roles. it’s miles believed that the lawmakers from the finances sold for themselves the arguable luxurious sport utility automobiles envisioned at N160 million in keeping with unit.

Amid the outrage, the countrywide Chairman of the Labour party, Julius Abure, suggested LP lawmakers to reject the motors, mentioning that the plan changed into insensitive. but, the lawmakers omitted Mr Abure’s recommend and all typical the motors.

“The national assembly have to pray for the president and give him ‘three gbosa’ for his magnanimity to the lawmakers,” Stainless Nwodo, an LP lawmaker, turned into quoted as pronouncing at some point of the talk over the purchase of the automobile. Mr Nwodo turned into later sacked by using the courtroom of attraction in an election petition case.

some other Labour lawmaker, Ngozie Okolie, who represents Aniocha North/South Federal Constituency of Delta country in the residence, similarly defended the acquisition of the motors, stating that “The SUVs are meant to aid our jobs as lawmakers, especially as it pertains to our oversight capabilities. yes, he (Abure) can say that the economic system is struggling but having one reliable automobile as federal lawmakers isn’t frivolous. it is a need.”

regardless of the outrage over the N70 billion and the purchase of vehicles, the president proceeded to present the national assembly a N197 billion allocation within the 2024 Appropriation invoice, the highest ever within the records of the federal legislature. in spite of this, the countrywide assembly multiplied the allocation to N344 billion and the president signed off with out criticism.

several reports have also showed the padding of the 2024 budget with billions of naira really worth of tasks by the lawmakers.

Abdul Ningi, the Bauchi relevant senator who alleged in an interview with BBC that the leadership of the countrywide assembly padded the 2024 finances, turned into suspended via the Senate for three months. He was recalled these days after serving months of the punishment. Instructively, however, many of his colleagues inclusive of individuals of his celebration, the PDP, did nothing to shop him while he changed into suspended.

Agom Jarigbe, a PDP lawmaker from cross River kingdom, became the most effective one that stated something suggesting assist for Mr Ningi throughout the debate over the saga. Mr Jarigbe alleged that maximum ranking lawmakers were given above N500 million for constituency projects.

on the equal day that Mr Ningi became suspended, President Tinubu held a closed-door meeting with Mr Akpabio and his deputy, Barau Jibrin, on the kingdom residence. It became no longer clean whether the Bauchi senator was discussed at that parley.
Wike, Gbajabiamila and the opposition

The ruling APC also held significant affect over the emergence of the management of the competition caucus within the chambers.

within the Senate, the PDP, in July 2023, wrote a letter to the Senate President, accusing the ruling celebration of interfering within the choice of the leadership of the Senate minority caucus.

within the house, Kingsley Chinda, a close ally of the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, and one of the promoters of Mr Tajudeen for the speakership emerged as the minority chief to the chagrin of the countrywide working Committee of the PDP.

Mr Wike, officially a PDP member, were a primary factor inside the flow via President Tinubu to have a firm grip on the parliament. earlier than he turned into appointed a minister, he played a primary role inside the election of the management of the country wide meeting thru his relied on political buddies who delivered Messrs Akpabio and Tajudeen.

apparently, in contrast to the same old sample of defection, Mr Wike, the on the spot beyond governor of Rivers country, has refused to go away the PDP, in spite of serving as a minister within the APC government of Mr Tinubu. perhaps, it become to praise the minister that Mr Chinda, his ally, become appointed minority chief in the residence.

also, Mr Wike reportedly backed Simon Mwadkwon from Plateau kingdom to turn out to be the minority chief of the Senate. Mr Mwadkwom has since been sacked from the Senate by using the courtroom of enchantment.

Following Mr Mwadkwon’s go out, Senate President Akpabio took benefit of the division inside the minority caucus to announce Abba Moro and Osita Ngwu as Senate minority leader and whip respectively. The LP caucus in the Senate had protested the appointment due to the fact Mr Ngwu replaced the sacked Darlington Nwokocha.

in the chambers, the ruling birthday celebration has constantly influenced the composition of the leadership of the minority caucus, hence the chambers have no longer skilled any severe competition.

there’s additionally the overbearing have an effect on of President Tinubu’s leader of staff, Femi Gbajabiamila. Mr Gbajabiamila, the immediately past speaker of the residence, is assumed to have performed a major position within the emergence of Mr Tajudeen and Ben Kalu because the speaker and deputy speaker.
Femi Gbajabiamila (photo credit: @femigbaja,
thru the Joint project group, a multiparty coalition headed by way of Mr Chinda and Bello Kumo, both allies of Mr Gbajabiamila, the leader of body of workers was able to offer a multiparty coalition that promoted the Abba/Kalu price ticket.

additionally, the modification to the status rule helped as the open poll meant that numerous lawmakers have been compelled to sign up for the queue.

yet another principal role Mr Gbajabiamila played changed into to plant the seed of loyalty to the government in electricity. in the course of one of the meetings in April 2023, Mr Gbajabiamila informed lawmakers present, many of them first-timers, that vote casting for a speaker who is in opposition to the president is not of their pleasant interest. He cited the 2011 insurrection that produced Aminu Tambuwal as a speaker.

considering that he emerged as speaker, Mr Tajudeen has held the chief of personnel in high regard. last 12 months, he held a “world” press convention to shield Mr Gbajabiamila amid a media campaign.
The rubber stamp tag

The present day national assembly has been defined by means of a few observers as a “rubber stamp” legislature, perhaps worse than the remaining meeting, which additionally carried the same stamp.

given that its inauguration a yr in the past, besides on very few occasions, the federal parliament has not often rejected or disapproved of President Tinubu’s requests. several requests of the president had been hurriedly accredited with out thorough deliberation.

some examples suffice. The countrywide meeting surpassed the 2024 budget 32 days after it was supplied to it by using the president.

In October 2023, the president nominated 10 individuals as commissioners of INEC. press hub pronounced that a number of the nominees have been card-sporting participants of the ruling party or known associates of the president’s appointees. no matter the outcry and protests by using a few Nigerians and civil society establishments, the Senate confirmed the nominees.

President Tinubu, on thirteen March, despatched the 2024 finances of the FCT to the countrywide meeting for approval. The N1.2 trillion finances was approved via the 2 chambers of the national meeting within 3 legislative days. No price range of any subnational authorities changed into that huge besides Lagos.

The bill was offered on Wednesday, and the general principle of the bill changed into debated in the chambers tomorrow. the subsequent Monday, the Committees on FCT held separate hearings at the inspiration and via Tuesday, the money invoice was handed.

This sample of short passage has characterised requests through the president to the country wide meeting. frequently, the lawmakers ignore outcry over requests via the government.

perhaps the most brazen changed into the passage of the national Anthem bill final month. both chambers passed the bill reverting to the old country wide anthem without sufficient consultations with the people they represent. President Tinubu signed the bill at once.

With the manipulate of the leadership of the countrywide assembly and the competition contributors, President Tinubu has had a extraordinarily easy manner with the lawmakers.

His only challenge is the incessant summoning of his appointees by the lawmakers. at some stage in a meeting with the lawmakers in April, President Tinubu raised this issue with the lawmakers. however, they have got now not ceded ground on that as the summoning has but to impede.
NASS, a lapdog

Paul Ibe, spokesperson to Atiku Abubakar, described the modern-day meeting as a lapdog of the govt.

“If the ninth country wide meeting is taken into consideration to be a rubber stamp, as Nigerians have concluded, this particular countrywide assembly is a lapdog, worse than a rubber stamp.
“The countrywide assembly has failed from the phrase ‘go’. They voted to shop for N160 million SUVs at a time when inflation is set 33 consistent with cent and meals inflation is ready 40 according to cent. They handed themselves SUVs whilst we have been speakme about reducing down the price of governance,” he informed top rate instances.

bringing up the instance of the controversial countrywide Anthem invoice, Mr Ibe said the legislature is giving the government a super distraction.

“the issue of the national Anthem became supposed to be a distraction, a unnecessary distraction from the continuing conversations approximately the overall performance of this management within the remaining yr. They need us to be talking about the national anthem and no longer the performance of the administration. The discourse is for the government to be accountable, but they’ve succeeded in distracting us,” he stated.

but a member of the residence, Clement Jimbo (APC, cross River), rejected the “rubber stamp” tag at the tenth assembly, arguing that the role of the country wide meeting is beyond open disagreement and confrontation.

“we’ve got on many events challenged the govt. To my knowledge, the relationship between the legislature and the govt ought to no longer necessarily be approximately abusing and openly disagreeing at the pages of newspapers and news stores.

“as an instance, when the president pondered taking action on the Niger Republic, the residence intervened and said ‘no’. we have severa issues here; let us face our personal. The president were given the message truly, and that did no longer take place.

“while the executive added the supplementary budget that contained about N500 billion to cushion the impact of subsidy removal, it turned into a welcome request, and we took action right now because of the rationale.

“we’ve usually been at the humans’s side. I see our courting as that of a husband and spouse. for that reason, they must now not continually disagree in front of people. we will maturely manage the differences,” Mr Jimbo said in an interview with top press hub .

By Hamsina

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