By Dr. Momoh Oshioke.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team”
_ Phil Jackson (American former professional basketball player)
The legislature is generally referred to as an official body, usually chosen by election, with the power to make , change, and repeal laws; as well as powers to represent the constituent units and control government.
Indeed, legislatures are assemblies of elected representatives from geographically defined constituencies, with law making functions in the government process.
Legislatures have formal authority to pass laws, which are implemented and interpreted by the executive and judicial branches.
So the legislature in Nigeria directly represents the citizens as a veritable institution for promoting political accountability.
In the National Assembly in Nigeria, the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA) is a crucial glue that holds and ensures that the bureaucratic machinery keeps working well in the best interest of representative democracy.The CNA as the head of the legislative bureaucracy is a constitutional creation going by Section 51 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended)
The point been stressed here is that the political wing of the National Assembly cannot function properly without the positive response from the bureaucratic wing; that whatever harm the smooth running of the bureaucractic wing must affect the health of the political wing.
The ability of legislators depends to a large extent on the effectiveness and efficiency of the legislative service provided by the bureaucracy which is the engine room of the legislature.
And how can the doctrine of political accountability to the good people of Nigeria be sufficiently upheld, pursued and pragmatise, when the succession struggle to fill the position of the Clerk to the National Assembly, is gradually becoming a tug of war; a fight to finish, between members of the top management staff; without regards to the established statutory provisions guiding the selection process?
How did the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), a body statutorily set up to handle, promotion, discipline etc in the National Assembly service, become a subject of unbridled merciless attacks, from some members of the top bureaucratic management team of the National Assembly?
The principal purpose of each arm of government is to provide services to satisfy the need of the public. The legislature especially the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) has its vision and mission and the realization of this vision and mission depends on purposeful leadership which should not only be effective, producing the intended result but also efficient without waste of time, money and energy.
This piece is prompted by the unfortunate and regrettable behaviours of some powerful forces within the National Assembly recently, when the Engr. Ahmed Kadi Anshi led National Assembly Service Commission official announced fresh appointments into the highest echelon of the National Assembly bureaucracy, on November 18, 2022.
NO one can deny that the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, Eng.Hamed Kadi Hamsi has exhibited true leadership skill since it assumed office.The fact remains that many finds it difficult to accept change though its said to be an integral part of essential defination of politics as the struggle for power. It’s also obvious that some persons have forgotten the rules of public service guiding their employment and engaged in power struggle but not for service delivery.
The recent unwarranted agitation that surrounded appointment of Sani Magaji Tambuwal, as the new Acting Clerk to the National Assembly was uncalled for yet it has its own lessons because of its unprecedented and reckless media fireworks, sponsored remotely by some aggrieved members of the top management team,who were not favoured for the position of the Chief bureaucrat of the National Assembly.
The fact of the matter is that those that stood against the choice and position of the National Assembly Service Commission ( NASC) actually fanned the embers of hate and rancour; and became the most veritable source of conflict against the process of appointing the Clerk to the National Assembly.
In trying desperately to rubbish the good job done by the National Assembly Service Commission, they have turned themselves into mounting furstration, to extinguish the fire that sanctify the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly, forgetting that the Engr. Ahmed Kadi Amshi and his team are adequately empowered in Section 6 (b) of the NASC Act to appoint, promote and discipline staff of the National Assembly.
Because they represent a dangerous force bent on using lies, slander and blackmail to crush the fantastic job done by the National Assembly Service Commission, there negative actions has reached a tipping point, perhaps the most significant cause for concern now.
It is the patriotic opinion here that those that have consciously risen against the rules of engagement as it is spelt out in the Public Service Rules that guides the operation of things within the National Assembly, must be exposed and disciplined by the appropriate constituted authorities.The National Assembly Service Commission must devote its time in developing substainable succession plan to avoid a repeat of the ugly incidence witnessed recently. There must be a workable, strigient and enforceable code of ethics for staff different from what is presently on ground .Most importantly, we can only succeed if we work together as an institution with common understanding sharing in the goals and mission of the legislature.
This is therefore calling on the highest political leadership of the National Assembly, being presently led by Senator Ahmed Lawan, President of the Senate, and Hon. Femi Gbajamiabila, Speaker, House of Representatives, to take action firmly and rapidly on this matter.
This they can do by authorizing the National Assembly Service Commission to do the needful; to set up a panel of enquiry to investigate and bring to book, those that have done so much recently, to drag the name of the entire National Assembly in the mud, because of their desperation to be appointed Clerk to the Nationality Assembly.
No doubt, if the above action is carried out, it will send a strong and clear message to those, who always think or feel that they are bigger than the statutory laws, to behave themselves subsequently in future.
In welding this proposed big stick against those rascally tiny members of the top management staff of the National Assembly, the business of the nation’s highest legislative body will be depoliticized and sanitized.
Ultimately, l call on the National Assembly Service Commission, to organize a seminar for top management staff of the National Assembly, on the theme of healthy institutional engagement when ever the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly is vacant.
Who says that in safeguarding and sanitizing the succession struggle in the National Assembly bureaucracy, the endless admonition of
Phil Douglas Jackson, who said that :” The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team”, would not be vigorously embraced by top management staff of the National Assembly?
Above all, in the name of representative democracy, and genuine political accountability to the Nigerian electorates, in whom sovereignty lies, strengthening the succession struggle in the National Assembly bureaucracy, is an idea which time has come.
Dr. Momoh is a Journalist, Legislative Scholar and Human Right activist based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.