Touched directly by what it would call excesses of the Executive arm, especially towards its Chairman, the National Assembly (NASS) has fired what is to, all intents and purposes, a warning shot to the president. The legislature which held a Joint Executive session earlier today left no one in doubt about invoking its Constitutional powers if nothing is done to address its resolutions at today’s session.
In the move seen in some quarters as overdue, the NASS is specifically demanding presidential directive to the security agencies “to curtail the sustained killings of Nigerians across the country and protect life and properties of Nigerians as this is the primary duty of any responsible Government”; an end to, in the words of the federal law makers, the systematic harassment and humiliation by the Executive of perceived political opponents, people with contrary opinions including legislators and Judiciary by the police; strict adherence to the Rule of Law and protection for all citizens by the President and his appointees; the president being held accountable for the actions of his appointees sincerity on the part of the Federal Government in the fight against corruption by not being selective and also prosecuting current appointees that have cases pending against them.
Other demands still in their own words include protection and preservation of the NASS by the Federal Government of Nigeria by not interfering in its business and prosecuting those who invaded the Senate to seize the mace recently; taking immediate steps to contain the growing level of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria especially now that we have advantage of the oil price having risen to $80 per barrel; allowing democratic elections to be competitive and inclusive by removing the present reign of fear and intimidation particularly as we approach the forthcoming 2019 elections.
The Assembly is warming up to embrace the international community as expressed in the IPU, APU, ECOWAS, CPA, Pan African Parliament, EU, UN, US congress, UK Parliament and the domestic civil society to secure Nigeria’s democracy. Both chambers of the National Assembly passed a vote of confidence on the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as the entire leadership of the National Assembly. It went further to reaffirm an earlier resolution of Vote of No Confidence on the Inspector General of Police “who does nothing other than preside over the killing of innocent Nigerian and consistent framing up of perceived political opponents of the President and outright disregard for constitutional authority, both executive and legislative”.
It is difficult to guess how the Executive would react to this move. Most times, it underplays all such indictment by issuing a press statement that dodges a fight, only to bring back the fight at its own time. Speculating who of the two conflict parties will be smarter pugilist in this battlefront would remain the game in town in Nigerian politics for the rest of the week unless the NASS follows up with another upper cut too quickly. If that happens, then the gulf might widen.