The legislature is a cardinal institution in any democracy, its major function being to making laws that would shape civil rule for good governance.
Alongside this key function are robust representation, oversight and working on constituency related issues for peoples welfare.
All these functions are pivotal to good governance and result oriented democracy for national development.
Apart from political parties, the legislature could be said to be another democratic mechanism that allows citizen`s room for participation in the process of governance without barrier to gender, ethnic, religious and ideological differences.
Whether fledging or advanced democracy, it is the legislature that serves as the tool for holding government accountable for its actions or inactions towards ensuring responsive and responsible governance.
As a central institution of democracy, the legislature derives its strength from the people who voted the lawmakers into office.
In summary,the legislature the heart of governance and a nation`s integrity system that people entrust with the task of making sure that elected leaders with the aid of the constitution fulfil their responsibilities in the interest of the citizens` well being and national advancement.
However, since the return of democracy to Nigeria about seventeen years ago,the country`s lawmakers have for most of the time been acting contrary to the expectations of the electorates.
Infact the legislators at all the three tiers of government have been acting like cankerworms and termites eating deep into the nation`s treasury to the detriment of the common good of electorates who trooped out every four years in rain and sun to give them license to the various hallow chambers of legislation.
For instance, hardly can anyone point to reasonable edicts passed by any of the local council lawmakers called councillors.
They are always co – dancers with their council chairmen in wasting resources meant for grassroot development, leading to ineffective administration.
Watchers of Nigeria`s democracy since 1999 would agree that,the lawmakers at the state level have remained mere rubber stamp to their excellencies, the state governors,as they hardly challenge them on any issue to ensure good governance.
Despite the provisions of the constitution that gave formal power backing to the legislature to assume the task of checks and balances on other arms of governmment,this has not been the case so far in this country`s democratic journey.
For example, the annual budgets of states across the country since the advent of the current democracy were mostly passed without serious scrutiny except where it affects lawmakers directly.
It is even worse in the two chambers of the National Assembly, Senate and House Of Representatives, where lawmaking is handled like chambers for comedy mix by the ones elected to put other arms of government on their toes for good governance.
Today what makes headlines from the hallowed chambers are document or credential falsification, car or wardrobe allowance, dress code issues, sleeping or docile lawmakers, as many of them have not even advanced a single bill in many years.
Funny enough,the Seventh Assembly rushed itself to pass over one hundred bills in just one day at the twilight of its tenure.
Most disheartening in recent times are the allegations of budget padding and that of alteration and forgery of Senate rules and guides by some lawmaker to favour some principal officers and their cohorts.
Other issue which has become the preoccupation of the nation`s legislature is fighting and bickreing over the appointment into committees as some are considered “juicy” than others.
Why Nigeria is currently facing all forms of sectoral challenges,the nation`s legislature is yet to sit down and engaged in intellectual and robust debates to fashions our genuine ways of solving most of this problems.
The major hindrance to achieving robust legislation for national growth had always been that,the nation`s lawmakers have been seeing themselves as having power of life and death immediately they get to the chambers, despite milking the nation`s treasury dry with their larger than life pay packages and other pecks of office.
For a new Nigeria so desired to emerge, time has come for the legislature to sit up and perform its constitutional duties of ensuring the further consolidation of the nation`s democracy, as they occupy a central position in the understanding of democratic journey of Nigeria.
No doubt, the role of the legislature is critical to the sustainability and stability of the nation`s democracy.
While it is universally accepted that, there can be government without legislature, but there can never be democracy without the legislature because it is the arm that gives the necessary impetus to the existence of democracy in any polity.
It has been confirmed by political scientists that, the legislature distinguishes a democratic government from autocratic one.
To deepen Nigeria`s democracy towards making it more result oriented, especially on the backdrop of the current national challenges, the law makers must live above politics of self aggrandizement,sectionalism or political party divides.
They should work in tandem with their responsibilities in line with the constitutional provisions in order to epitomise the existence and sustenance of the country`s democracy.
No doubt the legislature is the engine of democratic governance and as such, it must not be found wanting in making and regulating laws that sets agenda for good governance and national growth for the good of the citizens.
Written by Babatunde Tiamiyu