Former national lawmakers have urged the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to allow the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria by staying off the election of presiding officers of the incoming 10th National Assembly.
They also pleaded with governors-elect and political parties in the country to do same, and be cautioned against the zoning of legislative positions.
Rising from a one-day sensitisation parley with some State Assembly members-elect in Jos, Plateau State, the ex-legislators said the practice was undemocratic and had become old-fashioned, stressing that it was injurious to the spirit of separation of powers as well as checks and balances.
In a communique signed by a former Chief Whip of Plateau State House of Assembly and member of the 8th House of Representatives, Golu Timothy, the group of lawmakers, comprising former senators, House of Representatives and State Assembly principal officers, submitted that executive offices were different from legislative positions and should exist on their respective merits, irrespective of where the occupants hailed from.
The ex-lawmakers maintained that “allowing for a natural course of leadership brings better harmony and understanding, mutual respect and less politicisation.”
The communiqué added that the practice of imposing legislative leaderships has caused more harm for the legislature than good because it has often caused instability and most times, inefficiency of the leadership where it survives.
It read: “Look at how the election of legislators went across the country in the just concluded 2023 general elections. People were voted not according to party but the personalities involved. “
parties must stay away from causing legislative instability in our legislatures under the guise of deciding their leadership. This has not augured well for our democracy.
“Where legislative leaderships emerged through popular decisions of the lawmakers, productivity, mutual respect, understanding and cohesion are visibly the results.”
The ex-lawmakers also commended members-elect, especially those in the House of Representatives, for their support for Muktar Betara who’s aspiring for the speakership of the 10th Assembly, saying the fifth term legislator from Borno State had done well to deserve such support.
“Betara has always demonstrated exceptional qualities of leadership and excellent interpersonal relations with his colleagues and therefore an amiable choice to reckon with.
“He is a gentle and humble person full of respect for others. He doesn’t look down on anybody rather he befriends easily and built bridges across.
“We appreciate members-elect for identifying these leadership qualities in Betara and working for him to emerge the Speaker of the 10th Assembly.
“They will not regret their support for him having worked with him and known who he is. We urged them not to get weary inspite of any pressures that may come to them,” Timothy assured.