By Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has warned against the undermining of the legislative arm of government, describing it as “a recipe for anarchy.”
Ekweremadu made this disclosure on Monday at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Onicha Uboma, Imo State, where he delivered the 9th Synod lecture of the Anglican Communion, Okigwe South Diocese entitled: ‘The Legislature and the Search for Peace and Happiness in Nigeria.’
According to the Deputy Senate President, extra-budgetary expenditures and disregard for legislative resolutions, summons, and their confirmation powers are evidently undermining the institution of the Parliament in its bid to ensure good governance, security, peace, and happiness of Nigerians.
He said: “Although legislative resolutions do not carry the weight of law, they are nevertheless a key medium for stating the position of the Nigerian people on a subject matter through their elected representatives. Sadly, there is a blatant disregard for resolutions of the legislature across all levels of government.
“Certain executive appointments need confirmation by the people through their representatives because two good heads are better than one. Besides, the nation could be poorly run and tilt towards dictatorship if the president or governor has the absolute power to hire and fire.
“Also, in the course of exercising its powers of oversight and investigation, the legislature often has cause to invite executive officers. Unfortunately, Nigerians have continued to observe with utter dismay how some executive officers not only disdain legislative resolutions, but also shun legislative invitations.
“There is yet an emerging dangerous twist. People now rush to the courts to file processes in order to evade legislative summons. Some also go as far as seeking an order of court restraining the legislature from making laws or investigating a matter before it.
“There is separation of powers in our constitution so that one arm of government cannot hinder another from performing its responsibilities. I cannot imagine a situation where the legislature passes a resolution that the courts should not sit or discharge their constitutional functions. This is a recipe for anarchy.”
Speaking further, Ekweremadu cited the invasion of the Senate chamber and vandalisation of the Rivers State High Court as serious threats to the nation’s democracy, stressing that lawmakers should not be made to carry out their functions under duress and intimidation.
“It still baffles Nigerians and the world that the hoodlums beat all the security presence at the National Assembly and the vicinity of the Three Arms Zone, disappeared with Senate’s mace, and nothing has been heard about them. We are moving on as if nothing happened.
“This affront to democracy has also been extended to the High Court of Rivers State.
“Therefore, although the Senate’s mace has been recovered, anything less than apprehending and prosecuting the culprits and masterminds will not augur well for our democracy”, he added.
Ekweremadu therefore urged the public to support the legislature, stressing that the parliament is the difference between democracy and dictatorship.