After two months of rest, both chambers of the national assembly, Senate and House of Representatives resumed plenary Tuesday, 20th September. Beside plenary sessions other activities of the parliament have also commenced in full swing. This includes committee oversights, interactive and roundtable sessions with mostly agencies of the executive branch and sundry public and private matters that will lead to making good governance laws that better society and the constituents. With no doubts that the lawmakers are fully refreshed, it is expected that they get serious and quickly too with legislative works, specifically against the backdrop of the receding Nigerian economy. Speaking on their resumption, Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Baba Kaka Garbai, noted that emphasis will be placed for a resolution on the current economic recession bedeviling the country. Senator Garbai noted that senate will focus mainly on how to battle the economic recession and return the country to economic stability. ‘’Every other thing would be stepped down to give room for the matter (economic recession) to be trashed out completely in session and closed door” he said. This is cheering given the precarious economic situation of the country.
Among further steps to be taken by the Senate is the resolve to invite economic experts to proffer solutions to the distinguished members in session as discussions within the next two months will focus on issues relating to the economy and how to rescue it out of recession. Again this is good, perhaps until signs of improvement of the economy begin to show. The same is expected of the House of Representatives, even though the green chamber has not made public how it plans to tackle the diminishing economy. But whichever ways or methods both chambers adopt, it is welcomed, provided it aims at public good and overall benefit of the masses.
Save for the battering economy and hapless condition of the masses, it is needless to say that Nigerians are really suffering. From high inflation rates to low purchasing power, the wretched state of the citizenry conjures a simple understatement of the state of depression families and homes have been thrown nationwide. Salaries are still owed workers, arrears of pension allowances for retirees who are dying in their droves are unmet , food stuffs are skyrocketed, school fees/ books for children/wards who have just resumed a new academic session cannot be paid by parents and guardians because the money is not just available. These and sundry biting issues among numerous others, must concern parliament being the custodian of the people’s mandate. Even as executive arm of government requires help and the way to go, this perhaps is time for the sister legislative arm of government which has also indicated its resolve and willingness to help to intervene. But this cannot come, if pride is not put aside and sincerity of purpose galvanized by both arms to free Nigerians from economic slavery. This aspect is worthy of mention and worrisome given past frosty relationship of both the executive and the Legislature. With the economic quagmire, can both arms bury the hatchet and work in the interest of the masses?
Coming against this, the way to go for both chambers in helping government and in turn, their constituents is to move swiftly and courageously, notwithstanding early warning signals it previously raised with the executive over the dwindling economy which the executive rebuffed and to intervene and bring the economy back to life. With a good grasp of the situation better than the executive arm, the Senate and Reps must respond positively to the mood of Nigerians by churning out and passing only bills, making good legislation that will get the nation out of the woods .Expectedly filled with fresh ideas, as well as interaction with constituents on the state of the economy during recess, the distinguished and honorable lawmakers understand and appreciate the sufferings of the people which is why they must take the bull by the horn in synergy with President Muhammad Buhari in the interest of the nation to evaluate past laws in a bid to amending or repealing those that are not workable for the benefit of rejuvenating the economy . There is no more time to wait and waste with the terrible economic and social condition of the people than the country requiring more than ever before, laws that will propel her out of recession. If it is by the good deeds of the proposed emergency power bills still under works at the executive branch, the NASS must scrutinize closely the proposal to ensure it is one piece that will remove us from recession, drive the economy and not make the president a despot. On the other hand, the executive must respect and work with solution proffered by the legislature in the same way it has sought help from the organized private sector and other critical stakeholders in the country. This is not the time to grandstand and play to the gallery, or play politics of executive, legislature supremacy, rather it is time to respect the principles of separation of powers. As a matter of urgency the executive should stop all cases involving the Senate leadership as well as plots to distract some principal officers in the House of Representatives over budget padding using the Police, EFCC and any other government agency as both efforts of the leadership of the executive and the legislature is urgently needed now, more than ever before. And to achieve this is to allow Saraki, Ekweremadu, Dogara, Lasun and others to concentrate on state of the nation by leading their members assiduously in the fight to return the economy to a good stead through good laws, resolutions, etc. This is a better way to go.


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