Memo To Incoming Legislators - by Fred Nwaozor

Dear incoming legislators, both national and state, as you prepare to assume duty soonest, I must let you understand some basic facts relating to the portfolio you are about to behold as well as the expectations of the people to ensure that your respective dreams become realities.

First and foremost, never must you allow yourselves to be marred by apathy. The earlier we comprehended that apathy makes one’s position to seem passive, the better for us. Thus, I enjoin you to try at all costs not to be attacked by the cankerworm because it maims and even kills. Endeavour to take your legislative activities seriously at all times regardless of the circumstance your office might be facing, because that is the only reason you were sent by your constituents to represent them. In other words, any other thing outside legislation ought to be considered as secondary.

In the same vein, please, endeavour to revive Constituency Briefing, which is gradually fading out in the Nigerian polity. Constituency Briefing is a platform on which legislators, either state or national, establish cordial relationship with their constituents. It is only through this medium that the members of your constituency would get to know what your office has done as well as what you are up to. If you are not close to them, they wouldn’t realise your intention or what you have been able to accomplish since you assumed duty. It is so pathetic that most of our current legislators cannot boast a constituency office, let alone create an avenue for regular meeting/talk with their constituents.

Furthermore, I urge you to be vision-oriented while carrying out your duties. Do not be deterred by any challenge you might be facing in the office, rather let your electioneering promises or manifestoes remain your driving force. You must regularly tell yourself that your people cannot afford to receive excuses from you; hence, no matter the situation you are into, vision-oriented representation ought to be your watchword. Pursue the vision with extreme vigour or by embarking on a vigorous mission.

I also want you to, by all means, desist from partisan legislation. Don’t patronise anyone not even Mr President or Mr Governor as the case may be, because you are not in a marketplace. You are there for a finite business, and that business is expected to be faced squarely without any favour or fear of intimidation. The interest of your people must come first or be placed as a priority before any other one including your personal interest. Don’t be bought over by the executive arm; remain firm, determined, focused, and above all independent, in any legislative occasion you find yourself.

Mediocrity should be thrown to the waste bin because that is where it rightly belongs. Please, let it not be business as usual; this time round, we anticipate only quality laws, resolutions and motions on the floor of the House. Nigeria deserves nothing but the best; so the best must be given to her, come rain come shine.

Most importantly, I enjoin you to revisit most of the already existing laws with a view to addressing some lapses or putting up an amendment where necessary. Bear in mind that some of our laws seem outdated or inactive, and thus must be reviewed for the interest of the country. Also, you ought to be ready, either in your individual or collective capacities, to enact new formidable laws. Thus, all the promising bills presently lying on the floors of the various Houses, both federal and state, should be given urgent and adequate attention as soon as you are sworn in early next month.

Similarly, the ongoing late passage of appropriation bills, which has abruptly become a tradition, requires a radical and dogged consideration. An appropriation bill that is supposed to be passed into law prior to the commencement of the concerned fiscal year is now being passed at the first, or even second, quarter of the year. Isn’t it ridiculous? How can a budget meant for a certain year be made available at the second quarter of the year in question? It is indeed laughable, hence unacceptable.

Frankly, the Nigerian pattern of legislation unequivocally needs a total overhaul. Let’s have this at the back of our minds, because that is the only way out.

So, as you are set to make your dreams come true, I sincerely pray that your days would become longer than your nights. But as you strive towards actualising your dreams, never allow your predicaments to push you around. Think about it!

Comr Fred Nwaozor
Owerri, Imo State