Could the 10th National Assembly Be Our Worst? A Reflection on Past Failures and Present Concerns
In this article, Emmanuel Aziken explores the potential performance of the 10th National Assembly in Nigeria. The author begins by highlighting the shortcomings of the 9th National Assembly, which seemingly surrendered its legislative power to President Muhammadu Buhari, resulting in little oversight of the executive arm. The author criticizes the excessive spending and lack of accountability during the 9th Assembly’s tenure, citing examples like the school feeding program during the lockdown, the national airline project, and the opaque petrol subsidy regime.
The focus then shifts to the 10th National Assembly, and the appointment of Senator Godswill Akpabio as President of the Senate, endorsed by President Bola Tinubu. The article acknowledges the debate over whether such endorsements align with the principle of separation of powers, but compares it to similar instances in the United States where the president endorses certain candidates for congressional leadership roles.
Regarding Akpabio’s selection, the author suggests that it may be influenced by his early political support for Tinubu during the APC presidential convention, leading to the spirit of cooperation and a rewarding position. Akpabio’s potential to stimulate the National Assembly to provide a legislative framework for national development, based on his track record of infrastructural achievements in Akwa Ibom, is also discussed.
However, the article expresses concerns about the potential continuation of bad habits from the previous Assembly, such as the preference for purchasing foreign-made cars instead of supporting local industries and earmarking significant amounts of the national budget for the National Assembly itself. The latter is especially troubling given the current economic challenges faced by Nigerians.
The article concludes by stressing the importance of the 10th National Assembly rising above the mistakes of its predecessors and embracing proactive measures to serve the public good. Nigerians deserve better governance and transparency, and any further repetition of past failings would be unacceptable.