A SENIOR Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Mike Ozekhome, has labeled the 8th National Assembly the most productive and independent minded so far in the history of the legislature in Nigeria.
In a statement Thursday, Ozekhome (SAN), stated that the 8th assembly proved its independence right from the emergence of its principal officers as it “resisted the dictatorial, whimsical, capricious and arbitrary desire of any political party.”
“It also displayed its independence when it insisted it was its inalienable right to produce its leadership in accordance with section 50 of the 1999 Constitution,” he said.
The 8th NASS, he said, “was the best in terms of sheer productivity and daring insistence on being truly independent of the Executive arm of government and held sacrosanct the hallowed doctrine of separation of powers.”
According to him, “in the entire legislative history of Nigeria, the 8th NASS has passed the greatest number of pro-masses motions, resolutions and bills than any Legislature before it.
“It has also incubated and thrown up the most daring, courageous and brave legislators that spoke the truth to power and authority, at the perilous risk to their lives, families and properties.”
Calling on the next assemblies to emulate the 8th assembly, he stated, “the future NASS should and must take a cue from the 8th NASS as an independent arm of government, created by Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution, to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria.
Ozekhome stated further: “Though, expected to cooperate with the Executive, it must not do so at the expense of its own independence as an arm of government that participates in the inbuilt constitutional checks and balances.
“It is not a rubber stamp to executive desires and nuances.
“Any NASS worthy of its name as the present one, must rise up and use its oversight powers under sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution to check the excesses of the other Judicial and Executive arms of government.”
These, according to him, include the usually intolerant, overbearing, dictatorial, arm-twisting and imperious Executive arm that controls the coercive “apparatchik” of state power and forces.
“A NASS must defend the Nigerian people at all times because governments, like soldiers, come and go, while the barracks (the people, the real owners of power) remain.”