Okorie: Late passage of budget, not the way to go

…passage of 2017 budget

It is better late than never because we were already coming to a constitutional logjam, where the government was going to ground to a halt over non passage of the budget.

But, now that it has been eventually passed, we will take it and urge the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to immediately sign it into law for whatever it is worth, so that there won’t be further passing of bulk from the presidency to the National Assembly and for Nigeria to move forward.

However, this is not the right way to go.

I have never been enamoured by the performance of the present National Assembly, especially the Senate.

I am disappointed in the performance of members the upper legislative chamber. They have been more interested in what is going on in the presidency instead of what is supposed to be going on in the hallowed chambers of the legislature.

They have for whatever reasons allowed themselves to go into things that are outside their purview to the negligence of issues that are supposed to be within their view, including the budget. Now that we have reached this point and our budget is coming late, I hope that in future; because they still have two more budget years to go before the next general elections, they will not allow such delay to occur.

If you look at our National Assembly, you will notice that we have the highest mobility rate of legislators in the world. Not more than 70 per cent return every election year, which is as a result of non performance, including non delivery of services even to their constituents.

In other climes, many legislators have been there for years because there is no tenure limit for lawmakers. We just have a handful of them here in the persons of Senators Arthur Nzeribe and David Mark as well as the present Senate deputy president, Ike Ekweremadu. This development should be able to make those, who are there now to have some cause to reflect on how the relate with their constituents and the job they are doing.

Not many of them can be credited with any private member bill, especially those from the South-East. There has never been a private member bill in the past 17 years from any of the senators or members of the House of Representatives from the zone targeted at addressing the numerous problems of the people of the area, yet we keep talking about marginalization. But, the situation will be different in the next elections as many of them would be subjected to character assessment.

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