Senate President, Godswill Akpabio has said that the National Assembly is the most attacked and ridiculed.
Akpabio stated that several Nigerians don’t even see the necessity of the legislature, adding that Nigeria’s legislature is the least misunderstood arm of government.
The Senate President spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the 100th birthday colloquium in honour of Senator Kunle Oyero, a member of the Senate in the Second Republic.
Akpabio, represented by Senator Shuaib Afolabi Salis (APC – Ogun Central), told critics of the National Assembly that if a legislature had not been in place in 2007, the country would have since had a life president.
He said: “The one arm of government that people don’t really understand and it’s always a subject of ridicule and attack is the legislature. In fact, people sometimes don’t think the legislature is doing anything at all.
“But picture a situation where there was no legislature in 2007; there would have been a life president in Nigeria. Picture a situation in Nigeria where there was no legislature, a number of things would have gone wrong in Nigeria.
“Because people don’t understand the legislature, there is also a problem. As someone puts it, Legislators are sometimes the victims of the system.
“I gave Dr Reuben Abati (a moderator at the event) a few examples. In the ninth legislature, there were some senators that, even from afar, you could say they were doing what senators should do. They were moving motions, sponsoring bills and making the right interventions.
“In the chamber, the roles of the legislature are three: making laws, oversight function and appropriation. Most of those senators were doing those things, but guess what? None of them returned back. This is because the metric of measuring the performance (of senators) by the people who vote is different from what the syllabus dictates.
“The syllabus will say as a legislator, your role is to make law, perform oversight and make an appropriation. Those are the three things a legislator is expected to do. But any senator, any member of the National Assembly that confines himself to that, will not get a return ticket even in his party.”
He expressed worry that the elite has left the voting power to those who do not understand the choices before them and asked them to take a keen interest and participate in the election process.
Akpabio described Oyero as the last of the Nigerian Senate’s living legend and assured him that the Red Chamber would continue to follow his footprints.