President Muhammadu Buhari deserves our applause for rejecting as many as 17 bills and returning them to the National Assembly as unsigned. He has thus broken the Guinness Book of Records as a President who returned the highest number of unsigned bills to his Legislative Assembly in any legislative session.
At the same time, we should equally be commending our lawmakers for passing as many as 17 bills that could not be signed. Yes, we should be commending them for passing bills that could not be signed, for being unproductive, and for wasting the taxpayers’ money.
If as many as 17 bills were rejected by the President and returned to the National Assembly as unsigned, how many bills are now left, or have been signed by the President?
Some of us are beginning to think that these our lawmakers are dullards, and therefore we should think of sending them back to school to learn the art of passing bills that could be signed.
But is it not curious that the wisdom of only one man, President Muhammadu Buhari, has far surpassed the collective wisdom of all our elected representatives, the 469 members of the National Assembly (members of the Senate and the House of Representatives)?
President Buhari claims to know more than every other Nigerian what will be to the best interest of the people. That is why he will always turn down every bill presented to him for assent.
Haven’t we have seen its effect in the just concluded general elections, with all its headaches, when the President had refused to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill, which is one of these 17 bills that were returned to the legislature?
Our worry is that if our lawmakers were sure of what they did, that the bills they passed were for the best interest of the people they represent, and the President had turned them down, why didn’t they follow the constitutional path, to override the President’s veto?
But nobody would do anything because they all knew what they were doing, to continue to play on our collective intelligence.
President Buhari has a National Assembly Liaison Officer who ordinarily would have been interacting with the lawmakers on every of their planned activities and at the same be keeping the President constantly informed with what the lawmakers were doing. But nobody would do his work until when it became late.
The principle of separation of powers does not imply that the three arms of government should be up in arms against each other, be antagonistic, or work at cross purposes with one another.
It only implies that while each of the three arms maintains its independence, they should at the same time relate or work in tandem with the others for purposes of delivering good governance.
Think of the time and resouces already wasted in these 17 bills that were rejected, the additional time and resourced that would further be wasted in reworking these bill, to talk of the bills not achieving their intended objectives.