I must commend the National Assembly, particularly the distinguished members of the Senate who have today given Nigerians reasons to keep believing in our nascent democracy by rejecting the nomination of Madam Lauretta Onochie for a position within the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). By this singular action, the Senate has affirmed its commitment to the rule of law and equity, and have displayed uncommon impartiality in the discharge of its legislative mandate as a pivot for the check and balancing of executive powers in the country.
Madam Lauretta Onochie’s nomination rankled the country for its bare audacity and posed a threat to the integrity and impartiality of Nigeria’s electoral body if her nomination had indeed sailed through. Therefore, the Senate’s recognition of, and alignment with, the objective opposition to her nomination championed by well-meaning members of the public and civil society organisations must be commended and indeed puts the Red Chamber in good public stead.
I am at once proud of all members of the Senate and must express my satisfaction with the alacrity with which they discharged their sworn duty to the Nigerian people and the constitution. Indeed, contrary to widely held reservations about the autonomy of the National Assembly, their action and decision in this one instance dispels the public’s despair and assures of a legislative chamber peopled by distinguished members with the best interests of Nigeria and Nigerians at heart.
I want to express the hope that this is a sign of more legislative dividends to come and the timing could not be better. At this moment in time, Nigerians need a National Assembly it can hope on to keep the exercise and excesses of executive powers in check, and the Senate have indeed demonstrated capacity when the bell tolled the loudest for their intervention in the best interests of our democracy.
It is also on record that the obnoxious NBC and NPC amendment bills were withdrawn by its sponsor today having perhaps read the room and recognised the Senate’s commitment to oppose anti-people bills. This is really commendable and is an exemplification of Abraham Lincoln’s popular description of a democracy.
I want to also specially congratulate the general public; individuals, groups, civil society groups and others, whose strategic outrage kindled the democratic fibres of the Senate. As a people united in voice and action, there are simply no limits to the imposition of our preferences in our democratic experience. Good job and well done.
Pelumi Olajengbesi, Esq. is a Legal Practitioner and the Principal Partner at LAW CORRIDOR, Abuja. [email protected]