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NASARAWA STATE ASSEMBLY: A BEDROCK FOR ACHIEVING DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

NASARAWA STATE ASSEMBLY: A BEDROCK FOR ACHIEVING DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

By Mukhtar Wakeel

Democracy is consolidated when the three organs of government (especially the legislature), channel their functions towards socio-economic and political advancement. These advancements especially the aspects of employment creation, provision of good road networks, electricity, pipe borne water and other infrastructural developments, would alleviate hardship on the citizenry. Most of these amenities are provided with the assistance of the legislature. The presence of these, suggests a real democratic consolidation.The legislature being the institutional pillar of democracy is well recognized in any democratic setting. This is as a result of the critical role it plays within the framework of separation of powers. While its primary responsibility is of law-making, the executive implements and the judiciary plays the role of the adjudicator in disputes between the other branches of government, so critical is the role of the legislature, that emphasis can be made without fear of contradiction that the history, growth and consolidation of democracy anywhere is intricately tied with the role of the parliament and how legislative assemblies attempt to give meaning to peoples’ political power. Also, the Legislature has an important responsibility in the creation of people-oriented public policy, and in the monitoring of the implementation of such by the Executive, because it is only when it works in unison, devoid of rancour, that it can actualize the greatest possible good for the greatest number of people, within the shortest period of time. The immediate responsibility of the Legislature, if it is to play its expected role in consolidation of democracy, is to strengthen and build its own internal capacity in several domains. These include building its capacity especially the key legislative committees to be effectively engaged in policy analysis, budget analysis and monitoring, and in the oversight functions of the Executive, etc. Further, legislators (individually and collectively), are constitutionally charged with the responsibility of appraising themselves in the area of law-making, representation and oversight functions, aimed at ensuring a virile democracy on ground. More essentially, the Legislature plays the role of deepening democracy by ensuring that citizens and the civil society are brought into the mainstream of public policy and are given the fair hands to execute such policies (as and when due). Consolidation of democracy requires the strengthening of democratic infrastructure: Subordination of the polity to the rule of law; Strengthening of party politics and political education; Supporting electoral institutions; encouraging debate and dialogue in the resolution of disputes and provision of some social services.
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly is the unicameral legislature of Nasarawa State. The House of Assembly consists of 24 members including Speaker and Deputy Speaker among other Principal Officers.
It is believed that the current Speaker of the State Assembly Rt. Honourable Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi has stabilised the assembly despite party differences moreso that recently almost all the members in the opposition parties have defected to the ruling party, the All progressive Congress (APC), a decision mostly attributed to the leadership style of the speaker anchored of equity, justice and all – inclusiveness as well as the affirmation of their believe in the sterling qualities of Governor Abdullahi Sule who strongly upholds the tenet of quality leadership built on transparency, fiscal discipline, good governance and peaceful coexistence.
There is general consensus of opinion in Nasarawa State that the current Speaker is the most outstanding speaker the state has produced owing to the peaceful and cordial relationship that has been existing between the executive, legislative and judicial arm of government which makes Nasarawa State one of the most peaceful and crisis -free states in Ñigeria. This development has attracted foreign investors thereby raising the status of the state to “a state to beat” in the areas of eco- tourism, industrialization, agriculture and human capital development, security and youth empowerment. The monumental achievements recorded in the two years of Engr. Abdullahi Sule can widely be associated with the synergy
and spirit of together and patriotism exhibited by the state Assembly.
Political analysts and critical stakeholders observed that Speaker Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi lives up to expectation by carrying all members of the Assembly along and also promotes peace, orderliness and mutual respect for every member of the Assembly.
In the spirit of reciprocity, the members have demonstrated highest sense of diligence, love for the state and respect for the sanctity of the Assembly which transcended into unity of purpose with the executive arm of government the resultant effect are the unprecedented achievements recorded by the Engr Abdullahi Sule- led administration.
Even though the main duty of the legislature is to enact laws and pass resolutions that have direct bearing on the lives of the citizenry, all members of the State Assembly under the watch of the speaker deserve a pat on the back for touching the lives of their constituents in several ways including embarking on constituency projects and empowerment of their people as dividends of democracy to compliment the executive. This singular act has made political analysts to hold opinion that the constituents might favour the return of the members of the Assembly for Continuity and Consolidation. The basis of their position is that the more a member stays in the Assembly, the more the Assembly is blessed with ranking officers with rights and privileges whose legislative experience and expertise will enhance quality of legislation and representation to the advantage of the member’s constituencies and the state as a whole.
It is commendable that the present Assembly have several bills both executive and private. They also performed creditably well in the aspect of oversight function aimed at making public officers responsible, responsive and accountable.

Mukhtar Wakeel, a Public Affairs Analyst writes in from Lafia-Nigeria.

mukhtarwakeel@gmail.com
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