A call to merge National Assembly into single chamber – Gbenga Odunsi

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By Gbenga Odunsi

(Assistant Editor)

In recent times, several groups have called for the scrapping of Senate. Many reasoned that the senate amounts to a waste of scarce resources to the Nigerian government. Some other groups opined the Senate be merged into one chamber as this will reduce unnecessary spending, and duplication of functions.

I tend to agree with both parties. The Senate can either be scrapped or merged. But wait a minute! Of what use is the Senate?

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Over the years, the Senate and House of Representatives have proved to be inefficient and ineffective. They portray notions that clearly indicates cluelessness and self-interest.

The Senate has over the years passed and cleared ministerial and ambassadorial nominees even when they can’t recite the national anthem properly. Amidst recession, this same Senate successfully padded and approved the 2016 budget. Some weeks back, a House of Representative member called for the re-introduction of toll gate fee. One begins to wonder the mentality of the kind of people representing us in government. Of recent, a Dino Melaye, a Kogi senator found his way back to Harvard university. This is happening at a period when the house is not on recess, and should in fact be meeting every day to find lasting solution to the country’s financial mess. Now that Melaye is in school, what happens to his senatorial duties and responsibilities? Who represents his senatorial district for the duration of his absence?

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The Senate had since inception, truncated the happiness and future of the youths for their selfish gains without any form of reasonable bill to address the ills they have created for our society. Their only concerns is amending the constitution to shield or protection their criminality and fraudulent ethos. They have refused to direct the course of our history, and fail to realize that democracy means everyone’s participation rather than a certain few usurping the rights and privileges of others. None of them has ever cared to raise a motion bothering on National issues, youth unemployment, wide scale corruption among its members, and broken infrastructure across the country.

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The above clearly shows that not only is the Senate an avenue for wastage of scarce economic resources of the country, it has also outlived its usefulness and as such, their functions and mandate should be revisited

Sadly, the Senate cannot be scrapped so I would rather agree with those who are advocating for unicameral legislature, functioning on a part time basis with a drastically reduction in their numerical strength. The Senate and House of representatives should be merged together as a single chamber-congress to make laws for Nigeria, and serve as check and balance to the government. Nigeria, as an under-developed nation cannot focus high current cost of governance on two chambers of congress, as there are far more vital national issues that require funds.

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All we need now is to support this effort massively. The National Assembly will grind to halt if a million youths descend on it. A government in Thailand was successfully removed by protesters two years ago when they occupied the International airport. Other citizens supported them by bringing food to them daily. But to achieve positive results, the protest must be a peaceful one.

The view expressed above does not necessarily represent the views of Aljazirah Nigeria

 

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