By Lucy Osuizigbo,
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The legislature and executive are two very important political institutions in a presidential system of government. Thus, they play critical roles in governance.
Effective governance largely depends on the relationship existing between them.
Although conflicts are expected, dysfunctional conflicts will deadlock policy-making and implementation processes, and ultimately inhibit good governance.
Analysts believe that regular parleys between the two arms of government will reduce conflicts, build a healthy relationship and provide opportunities to evaluate government performance to improve governance.
They note recent conflicts between the two institutions to include senate’s refusal to confirm some Independent National Electoral Commission Resident Electoral Commissioners over what it described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sack the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Analysts also point out that before, during and after the signing of the 2017 Budget into law, the two arms of government constantly disagreed over the process and the content of the appropriation bill.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State is of the opinion that parleys and collaborations between the executive and legislative arms of government are critical to effective governance.
He is convinced that such meetings will provide opportunities to evaluate the performance of governments and keep the country on the part of development for the benefit of the people.
According to him, Lagos State has started the parley and will sustain it because of the benefits.
”Lagos is working and developing fast due to this parley; it is the only forum where all elected and appointed leaders representing Lagos residents at the federal and state levels come together to positively direct the future of the state.
”We tell ourselves the truth to ensure that we keep to our constitutional roles of making life better and meaningful for the people.
”This collaboration will help us come up with a legal framework for reforms as well as attract investors for the development of Lagos and Nigeria at large,’’ he had said at such a parley.
Sen. Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos East) wants the Federal Government to emulate Lagos State by providing a platform where executives and legislators can discuss and strategise to deliver good governance.
”I strongly believe that if we replicate this kind of parley at the federal level, the government will be able to keep its campaign promises, meet the needs of the electorate and overcome the political, economic and social challenges, ” Ashafa said.
A Professor of Political Science at the National Open University of Nigeria, Femi Otubanjo, notes that the executive and the legislature are partners in progressive governance and should parley.
He advises that the executive should give legislators due recognition and engage them via lobbying to reduce conflicts and promote good governance.
“This is the way forward in the coming year.
”We saw what happened with Trump when he was trying to repeal Obamacare. He addressed the parliament and even invited some of the leaders to a breakfast table.
”The reality is that the executive must learn to lobby and not take things for granted or stand up to the senate. The senate must be managed carefully and respected.
“The partnership between these arms of government is essential for smooth running of government and for the people to enjoy the dividends of democracy,” he says.
Mr Onyekachi Ubani of the Nigerian Bar Association urges the executive to lobby and cooperate with the senate to avoid delay in the operations of government.
“The executive needs to understand the dynamics of politics and not quarrel with the senate at the detriment of the campaign promises they made to Nigerians.
”The executive needs to cooperate so that the senate will not continue to withhold approval for nominations or bills such as budget bills.”
Speaker Mudashiru Obasa of the Lagos State House of Assembly also views collaboration of the two arms of government as very essential for political relevance “which is about performance and providing the dividends of democracy’’ .
”As a legislator, ensure you make meaningful laws, and as an executive, implement projects that will benefit and develop the people. These will win the hearts of the people,” he says.
A lawyer and public affairs analyst, Mr Justice Uhuegbu, advises the two arms of government to approach the court of law for proper interpretation of their roles to reduce conflicts.
”We cannot destabilise the country over an issue for which there is provision for the court to adjudicate and decide who is right between the executive and the legislature,” he urges.
Mr Wale Ogunade, also a lawyer, says regular discussions by both arms will enable resolution of differences and promote understanding.
He calls on both arms to strictly adhere to the tenets of the principles of separation of powers so as to avoid frictions that can be counter-productive to the discharge of their duties.
”It is also imperative that both institutions should see themselves as complementary partners in the administration of the Nigerian State and, as such, synergise in the policy-making and implementation process with a view to promoting good governance.” (NAN)