Should the National Assembly Arms be Merged?

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Many analysts have always asserted that the cost of governance in Nigeria is too high and that the income structure is too top-heavy to allow effective and efficient development. Members of both Houses of Representatives and Senate reportedly draw fair salaries but mouth-watering allowances, even in the current recession period. The belief is that Nigeria can equally do well if both national assembly arms are merged into one strong efficient unit which can work well with the Judiciary and the Executive. In your own view, should the two Houses be merged to save cost of governance in Nigeria or not?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* No, the National Assembly arms must not be merged for any reason. What is needful or vital is the cost of governance being reduced drastically. Reduce their jumbo pays especially the unnecessary and arbitrarily-bloated allowances over time e.g. security vote, newspaper allowance, costly medical exigencies, foreign trips, over-priced contracts or projects, too many and ghost aides, wards, stewards e.t.c. God bless Nigeria.

Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* That would be the best for the country and a name should be found for that group as either the Senate or the House of Representatives should be eased out as they are Nigeria’s problem today, be it corruption, religious bias, tribalism e.t.c. This group of people to be formed through election should be on part-time basis, meeting once in a month or quarterly, and should be paid sitting allowance and not fat salaries and other benefits they are currently carting away.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* In the interest of Nigerians, for the growth and development, for the easy passage of bills and other oversight functions of the National Assembly and ultimately to reduce cost of governance, merger of the two arms of the national Legislature is a welcome development. Also, it would address the menace of duplication of duties.

Mr. Yusuf MBO, Nda Aliu, Kwara State

* I don’t think merging of the National Assembly is a solution. The challenges with the national assembly go deeper than merging them. The fundamental challenge of the national assembly has to do with the character of its members and their activities. If the National Assembly is people-centric, this proposal for its merger would not arise, but sadly, Nigeria’s legislature is dominated by selfish folks who go there to line their pockets. Rather than merger, let’s focus on dominating the National Assembly with people who offer effective representation. The time to being that process is now.

Mr. Utibe Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

* Bearing our current economic challenge in mind, merging both arms and retaining credible visionary leaders only, would be cost effective to start with.

Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos

* It depends if the number of seats are to be reduced in the merger. Unfortunately, if that is going to happen, it’s the same National Assembly members that have the authority to bring such a proposal into being which ia highly unlikely being that some of them would lose the right to stand for the next election. The Constitution would have to be changed for that to take effect and it doesn’t appear the National Assembly members are ready to make that sacrifice. Remember, these are the same legislators that refused to take pay cuts.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Such a merger is long overdue as most former highly-corrupt politicians have made the National Assembly their abode, where we only hear of budget padding, loss and taking away by security agencies e.t.c. In fact, tactically, our fiscal year that allows construction of roads during dry season gradually is fading away as we are now in May. The legislators are more highly-paid than in the US, only increasing their budget and ignoring the constitutional law-making. What good can we expect? One steals billions of naira and is walking about freely; while the other steals thousands and is sentenced to death. Is there any justice in our law?

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State

* The National Assembly is a conduit pipe that drains our resources, and we should scrap one section of the Legislature, be it the Senate or House of Representatives. Nearly all our yearly budget went to the National Assembly with little remaining for capital projects, and after all nothing good comes out of the National Assembly; they are only there after their own selfish aims and not about the well-being of the people who voted them into office. I don’t see any reason why we are bicameral legislature when few people just embezzle the money we need to develop Nigeria.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Yes, their merging together is quite overdue. The omnibus national assembly is too bogus, over-staffed, fraudulent e.t.c. Like the federal parastatals, our assemblies are full of ghosts and redundant workers that scarce funds are being wasted upon at a time of economic recession and torture on pauperised bonafide citizens who jostle for virtually unavailable jobs. The merging must mean retaining only actually qualified staff for the available vacancies; no politics, only the truth.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* I think it is just proper to maintain the National Assembly the way it is rather than merging it – after all we copied the presidential system from the US and a two-chamber legislature still exists there. It’s needed to assure a vibrant democracy. However, the cost of governance could be reduced through the following: make the Senate smaller (two senators per state rather than three); make law-making part-time (IBB suggested this in 1999), and legislate a drastically reduced number of aides for all public offices/officers (across the board).

Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* I support a merger of both arms of the National Assembly, simply because many of their functions are merely duplicated. Aside from the fact that this would save a lot in the cost of governance, their roles should be part-time and this will help attract the really qualified and worthy representatives and serve to weed out the corrupt and selfish chaff. But the tricky part of such a merger is that it has to be approved and assented to by the very same set of people who are going to be the victims of the merging. How willing will they be to sacrifice and lose their plum jobs for the benefit of the general populace and a better Nigeria?

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

 THE RESPONSE

Merge both of them: 7

Don’t merge them: 2

Others: 2

Radical tip: Total clear-out!

Total no of respondents: 11

Male: 9

Female: 2

Highest location: Lagos (4)

Next Week: Will PMB’s Absence Stall the Anti-corruption War?

Although the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to lead and govern the affairs of a complex country like Nigeria in the absence of ailing President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), some analysts believe the acting president may not be able to wield the final stick against corruption in high public places (like the suspension of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation over allegations of corruption). To you, will PMB’s absence stall the ongoing war against official corruption in Nigeria or not?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (May 11 & Monday, May 15) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, May 18