HomeViews and ReviewsWhere Is The Legislature In This Hyper-Mismanaged Economy?

Where Is The Legislature In This Hyper-Mismanaged Economy?

By

Hon. Rahman Owokoniran

Interesting days lie ahead as the President and his ruling APC leaders have resorted to sermons for selling the economic future of Nigeria. I find it intriguing that the APC leadership would rather take us to the classroom each time they are discussing the problems of Nigeria, especially in this their hyper-mismanaged economy. After their theoretical, textbook analysis of the current situation, they will tell us that we should be prayerful, assuring that we can be hopeful that help is forthcoming. They tell us to be calm and patient and be expecting that all their self-imposed vices now bedeviling our nation will soon be over.

Nigerians are being taken for granted by the APC thinking that we do not deserve to know the truth about the challenges facing our hyper-mismanaged economy. They say we should not be burdened with the details of the government’s recovery plans for the recession. What a ridiculous proposition that portrays the government as lacking in transparency! This is such a ridiculous and irresponsible reasoning in the wake of crisis, disaster and tragedy. Hundreds of people are being killed every day from hunger and starvation, armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism. The insecurity in the land is terribly severe and the number of lives lost at all hours of the day has been staggering.

Yet our legislators at various levels of government have not been able to come up with meaningful solutions. Every community has its own peculiarity; and yet, we have not seen these state and national legislatures apply themselves in any meaningful way. They have become appendages of the Executive arm of our government. They are remotely disconnected from their various communities. The constituency offices and staff provision budgeted for each year and paid for are neither delivered in most cases. This is why they have no connection whatsoever to their constituents, not to talk of keeping them informed about government policies. The people neither have a means of communication nor a platform to express their opinions on government policies.

The people are blindsided by the government and their policies; they make a deliberate choice to blindfold the people and ignore public opinion. In the absence of the legislative framework of the people and their elected representatives, the Executive arm of government, acting like Royalty, reels out its policies and demands compliance or violators would be penalised.

However, the truth is that our democratic system is broken and needs to be reformed. If you still wonder why the legislatures were being placated by the Executive branch, you should know that the lawmakers have been rendered impotent, thus enabling the Executive branch to suppress the legislative power to oversight their decisions and protect public interest and resources. Our democratic system of government has been weakened. Unless there is a deliberate attempt to restore order and the people’s confidence in democracy, we may ruin our chances of sustaining it.

No wonder, the government will unilaterally fix the price of the dollar against the Naira at a very high rate, and a year later lower the same rate at its pleasure, and turn around to score itself high and performing (even when the costs of petroleum products, energy and food remain very high and inflation skyrocketed).

I beg to differ with this government that we haven’t experienced any shift in the radar since the beginning of this administration and now. Yes we have not been printing new currency, like Muhammadu Buhari, but we have been over-burdening the masses by inflicting pain and suffering upon them. Relief is not in sight and they have not been able to afford the cost of living in this situation. The remedy made available in the form of palliatives could have served as emergency relief at the initial stage. To ameliorate the damages caused by the removal of petroleum subsidy and the high rate of electricity, this administration should have by now rolled out relief packages in the form of rural protection schemes, city commuting services aid, primary health delivery aid, which are essential to human survival.

Mr. President’s over dependence on only the private sector to drive this economy, to improve the lives of the people, is not good enough for the growth of this economy and the people. I wonder why our various governments continue to ignore the unofficial sector of the nation’s economy as a veritable source of wealth. The same goes for our artisans, in whose human capital resources we refused to invest. Unless we create the enabling environment and make it easier for us to invest in their productivity, we will never get anywhere near our destination.

We can do it. Even in this hyper-mismanaged economy, we can make life bearable for our people and generate enough wealth to sustain our society, create jobs for our people to thrive and grow our economy as a whole in a meaningful and sustainable fashion. This way we can guarantee a prosperous future for the people of this nation.

HON. RAHMAN OWOKONIRAN WRITES FROM LAGOS

 

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