INTERFERENCE WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THE LEGISLATURE

LEADERSHIP OF THE LEGISLATURE

INTERFERENCE WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THE LEGISLATURE

The doctrine of separation of powers requires that one organ of government should not exercise the functions of another. With this in mind, it makes constitutional and political sense that members of the legislature only should determine who should lead them. During the days of former President Obasanjo, there were several attempts to muzzle the legislature via constant interference with the leadership of the various legislative houses. This was evident in the removal of three (3) Senate Presidents in three (3) years. In the circumstances that led to the removal of Senators Evan Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo and Adolphus Wabara as Senate Presidents, the connivance, collusion or involvement of the executive was always alleged. (Leadership of the legislature)

 

LEADERSHIP OF THE LEGISLATURE
LEADERSHIP OF THE LEGISLATURE

 

The consequence of this was the instability that characterized the National Assembly (particularly the Senate) during Obasanjo’s administration. Most Senate Presidents were either appointed (indirectly) by the President on the basis of their willingness to be subservient, or alternatively deposed as a result of their tendencies to assert their independence against the wishes of the President. Although the President was resisted by the House of Representatives where attempts to unseat former Speaker Ghali Umar Na’Abba was aborted, the overturning of the leadership of any Senate President or House Speaker that refused to bend over to the dictates of the executive was the situation that pervaded the Hallowed Chambers of the National Assembly in the eight years that Obasanjo held sway. (Leadership of the legislature)

The legislature’s attempt to assert its independence from the executive by performing its constitutional duties has equally caused the loss of a number of Speakers at the State level. In 2015, the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly was removed by eight (8) lawmakers. The removed Speaker pointed accusing fingers at the Governor, Sullivan Chime as being the mastermind behind his removal after the Speaker along with fourteen (14) other members of the State House of Assembly attempted to remove the Governor for among other things, manipulating the 2014

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Appropriation Bill. In his words:

I am really shocked that the Governor, who is a lawyer, could champion eight people sitting down to remove a Speaker when he knows that it requires two-thirds.…[1]

Closely related with the above is the anointing of Hon. Mulikat Adeola Akande by the PDP to succeed Oladimeji Bankole as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The members of the House resisted this imposition by voting Hon. Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker. Similarly, the Senate resisted attempts by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to impose on it Senator Ahmed Lawan as Senate President by rather electing Senator Bukola Saraki. It should be noted that in Nigeria, the President is the leader of his party and any decision or action taken by his/her party is taken with acquiescence of the President. (Leadership of the legislature)

 

[1] www.post-nigeria.com/speaker-blasts-enugu-house-of-assembly-for-shameful-antics/. Accessed on 7thApril 2019.

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