OF DEMOCRACY AND LEGISLATIVE AUTONOMY: WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE….by Henry Madubuike.
In every Democracy across the Globe, the concept of Democracy stands on an inalienable tripod, viz a viz the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary and in accordance to the wholesomely acceptable principles, as propounded by Montesquieu, and are in theory, INDEPENDENT but compliment one another in line with the letter and spirit of balance, which the Constitution of the nations operate or as it were, envisage.
Unfortunately though, in practice, which also is not ideal, the culture, as unique, wholesome and as pristine as it ought to be, because of the lack of thought and intelligence, that is, vacuity, of the financial autonomy of the Legislature and Judiciary, has remained to an extent, stifled and most worrisomely mangled and this runs at cross purpose with the tenets of Democracy.
For starters, gradually delving to the kernel of the discourse, AUTONOMY is the right or condition of self Government, the capacity of an agent to act in accordance with objective morality, rather than under the influence of desires.
This is going a bit philosophical, according to the Kantian moral philosophy, which is further highlighted in the Philosophy of Autonomy where ETHICS or Moral Philosophy, which is based on the premise that people have the choice to control their own behaviour based on their sense of right and wrong, and PERSONAL AUTONOMY, a reflection of human beings and their interaction with other humans on freedom, responsibility and also on justice.
Another school holds also that autonomy is the state of being self governing or having the ability to make one’s decisions independent of EXTERNAL CONTROL, the stated lending credence to FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE and SELF DETERMINATION.
It will also be apt to succinctly note that the autonomy in question can be viewed from four different prisms viz a viz PERSONAL AUTONOMY, CULTURAL AUTONOMY, FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE AUTONOMY AND the major crux of this discourse LEGISLATIVE AUTONOMY.
Recall that Nigeria’s President Mohammad Buhari at a time signed an Executive Order, authenticating the autonomy of State Legislatures in the Federation, which solidified the State Assemblies to having control over their affairs, make decisions or act on their own behalf without interference from another party.
State Legislatures in Nigeria are, following the above, constitutionally empowered to be FINANCIALLY AND ADMINISTRATIVELY AND LEGISLATIVELY AUTONOMOUS as is the practice in the National Assembly. Thus, the demand for same is as moral, official, ethical and just as it could be.
In view of the above, the Abia State House of Assembly, in 2019, enacted into Law, which came into force on the 16th of July, 2019, ABIA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SERVICE COMMISSION LAW, LAW NO.8 OF 2019 and was consequently ASSENTED on the 23rd of July, 2019.
Part II of the said Law, ESTABLISHMENT, MEMBERSHIP, TENURE AND FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION reads as follows:
” There is hereby established a body to be known as the Abia State House of Assembly Service Commission, in this Law refered to as the Commission.”
“The Commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and shall have power to sue or be sued in it’s corporate name.”
“The Commission shall (a) formulate and implement guidelines for it’s functions in line with the provisions of the Public Service Rule.”
The document is robust enough and can be accessed through the proper channel. Even the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) from Section 90 to 91 lent it’s powers to all the above, which is part of the benefits and ingredients of Democracy.
It should also be put on notice that the Legislature remain the bastion of Democracy and must not be treated as an appendage of/to any Arm whatsoever, under any guise.
The Judicial arm of Government in Abia State is fully autonomous and wholesomely so, a part of the tripod which the Government stands. Why not that of the Abia State House of Assembly?
The constitution of the Board of the Commission has become expedient and necessary as this shall lend credence, enhancing the bragging rights of Governor Alex Chioma Otti as a thoroughbred stickler to everything Democracy stands for because what is good for the goose is also good enough for the gander.
Or is the above too much to ask?
Credit must be given the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria, Abia State House of Assembly Chapter for relentlessly pressing in the demand for the expeditious constitution of the Board of the same Commission. More powers.
Aluta continua! Victoria…
(Public Affairs Analyst/Critic)