BY MOSES IDIKA
The National Assembly as the peoples’ parliament is one institution the people love to hate, and good enough, it’s the same practice and sentiment all over the world. The love hate situation is well known to be borne out of the fact that, while the parliament over-sights the activities of the other arms of the government, the people over-sight the parliament.
The people already know that they cannot do without the parliament, even in places like China and Singapore where they have one party state; there is still a semblance of parliament because the “legitimacy” factor that underlines governance and leadership in the modern world squarely rests on the parliament.
In Nigeria, however, while the lawmakers are taking the “heat” as the representatives of the people, which is normal, a new trend is unfolding where certain forces bent on reversing the gains so far made in democratization process seem to be unrelenting in their selfish bid to distract the bulwark of the National Assembly, the bureaucracy.
The National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) in realization of the challenges facing the parliament, especially in the area of capacity development and utilization in line with its powers as provided by extant laws amended the condition of service of the civil servants in the National Assembly, to not just only conform with the norms and traditions of parliamentary institutions all over the world, but to also put the Nigerian parliament on the path of sustainable growth.
However, despite the altruistic intentions and goals of the NASC that led to the amendment of the condition of service of the National Assembly staff, a tiny group of insensitive and selfish forces are hell-bent on derailing the progress. Since the beginning of the implementation of the new condition of service, which was crafted to affect every staff of the National Assembly positively, the group bent on derailing the process has employed all possible tactics to reverse the gains so far made.
It is, therefore, not surprising that even at this time of global coronavirus pandemic where all institutions of governments all over the world are on the edge in the search of solution to the common enemy that the COVID-19 pandemic has become, a hired mercantilist group masquerading as a civil society organisations is preparing to converge at the National Assembly to protest the operationalization of a lawful policy of the NASC.
The determination of the hired protesters to embark on a protest in times like this, despite the COVID-19 lockdown measures put in place by the Federal Government, which include social distancing and outright temporary ban on crowd gathering speaks directly at their intentions.
It is now crystal clear that those behind the series of distractions cloaked in protest against the implementation of the amended National Assembly Condition of Service do not in any way mean well for the institution of the National Assembly as they will stop at nothing to bring it down.
The Nigerian security authorities should, therefore, be on the alert to forestall any attempt to breach the already established COVID-19 protocols in the National Assembly premises. Nigerians should now see through the veneer of deceit behind the opposition of the well intentioned amendment of the National Assembly Condition of Service.
MOSES IDIKA, is a Journalist and social commentator. He writes from Abuja.