A Formula for Democracy 3: Forming a Parliament
*A Formula for Democracy 3: Forming a Parliament*
First, I reiterate that the 2023 election may not hold. Further that there are 5th columnists who will not allow just anybody except they get their wishes reminiscent of 1993. Further still, if we love ourselves, it should not hold. The formula that we operate now is faulty in several ways and political scientists have faulted the formula positing that history has taught that pure democracy allows a bare majority to dominate and it ultimately implodes.
In our case, it has put some ethnic groups ahead of others such that people from certain areas of the country cannot be President except by accident of fate. The capital layout is enormous and antithetic. It has produced strange results in some instances. There is a disconnect between the rulers and the people. It is unsustainable because it is expensive to maintain public officers. Electioneering is cumbersome and fraught with anomalies.
The presidential election is a struggle between ethnic and religious groups far from the problems of the nation. All gamble on probabilities and will face the reality check after election with disharmony thenceforth. Worst of all, it is a choice between Satan and Devil and the frenzied supporters and would-be voters, in their lucid moments, know. None of the candidates has the formula to fix Nigeria. We are back with promises (are there really?) lacking philosophical foundation and scientific explanations. We are saddled with witchcraft, marabouts and unholy ghosts.
2023 is too far for the required change. The National Assembly selfishly failed to midwife and process the required restructuring and the system fails under the weight of the structural anomalies that seek to make us enemies. Generals Abacha and Dogonyaro's coup speeches will be understatements today. The looming armaggedon is marked by the unending insecurity and economic nosedives. The President and his Presidency are tired; the National Assembly has become a literary and debating hall; and, the Judiciary, a shadow of its old self.
The original sins (to be discussed later) inherent in the grundnorm cannot be wished away. Therefore, the inevitable 'restructuring' debate must continue in the public space because you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. The best of experienced personalities have failed and we are obviously short of personnel. It is imperative to build a lasting structure rather that the deathbed jamboree.
Back to the basics. 'The Parliament' is: 'the people' by representation, thus, the pseudo sovereign. Such is the power of Parliament that the British parliament has been ascribed with the power to make a man a woman and vice versa.
Then who are the people? How are the people represented in parliament? Modern politics has gone beyond infrastructure and food-on-the-table except for a fourth-world polity where paying salaries promptly is an achievement. It is a whole web of social engineering involving more of the software fabrics of human endeavours. Economy through economics, philosophy and science of money, security with little ammunitions but more responsibilities, productivity with technology and engagements, education for purpose and global competitiveness ... So, geo-political representation alone cannot meet the demands.
Invariably, the people's parliament should be an aggregate representation of facets of interests including occupational (labour), gender, gerontocratic, professional, religious, and public sector.
If there is a situation that calls for an interim arrangement, that is a proper formula for a discourse. If it is reasonable in the interim, it is proper for a permanent arrangement. I therefore propose a parliament comprising of those representatives as follows:
1. 5 representatives of each state on the basis of equality as we have in present Senate (the states will be discussed later).
2. 2 representatives of each of the recognised labour unions: NUT, PENGASSON, ASSU, NURTW ...
3. 2 representatives of each of the core professional bodies, to wit:
a. Nigeria Bar Association, NBA
b. Nigeria Medical Association, NMA
c. Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE
d. Nigeria Accounting Association (ICAN/ANAN)
e. Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ
f. Insurance Association of Nigeria (NCRIB, ILAN)
g. Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA/MAN ...
4. 2 representatives each of following:
a. Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs/Muslim Association of Nigeria.
b. Christian Association of Nigeria.
c. National Council of Nigerian Women/Women in Nigeria.
d. Nigeria Youth Council/National Association of Nigerian Students.
e. Association of Physically Challenged Persons.
f. Traditional rulers.
5. 2 representatives of each of the following:
a. The Armed Forces of Nigeria (rank and file).
b. The Paramilitary.
c. The Judiciary
d. The Civil Service
6. 10 persons nominated and elected by the constituted assembly.
1. It will be a unicamera legislature with 2 segments for socio-political (groups 1 and 4) and socio-economic (groups 2 and 3). Groups 5 and 6 are amphibious. All are still members of both segments.
2. The 2 segments will be headed by a Deputy Speaker each while the joint session is headed by a Speaker of the National Assembly.
3. The National Assembly will provide accommodation, vehicles and pay reasonable remuneration/allowances. States and organisations may reimburse their representatives and provide additional perquisites.
4. The legislature should not be mingled with the executive. Constituency allowances and projects should be abolished.
5. The National Assembly will give account to the Council of State (to be discussed later) on its activities and budget.
6. Committees should be composed according to interests represented.
*Long live Nigeria!*
*S. O. K. Shillings Esq.*