The National Assembly Federal Republic of Nigeria, the first work by Page Publishing author, Kemdi Opara, received a rave first review this week. The review is posted below in its entirety:
REVIEWER: Professor Ike Azogu, MSc, PhD
I consider it a special honor and privilege to be called upon to review this new and exciting thought-provoking book written by one of the rising stars in Nigeria’s political firmament. The book titled: The National Assembly, Federal Republic of Nigeria: “What You Should Know and Why” is a treatise that has set out to identify the fundamental causes of the dysfunctional state of our nation’s governmental affairs and the disastrous consequences and setback to growth of true democracy, individual freedoms, and sustenable socioeconomic, political, and technological growth and development. It is clearly evident that there is considerable lack of awareness among the people of their rights and responsibilities in a democracy and the benefits derivable therefrom. The author, applying his professional skills as an educator and politician, has eloquently set out to accomplish this objective through this medium.
The book proffers ways to deepen Nigerian democracy through legislative approach. It also educates and informs the general public about their rights and responsibilities on ways to use legislation as a vital instrument to propel political proficiency, economic development, social stability and fight against corruption in Nigeria. The book challenges the various arms of government, the Presidency, the Legislative Houses (Federal and State), State Governance, political parties, the Judiciary, the populace and all stakeholders to push for these changes through the enactment, passage and implementation of enabling laws.
The author traces the history of constitutional development in Nigeria including that of the National Assembly since 1999. He describes the rudiments of a true democracy as good governance, fair and legitimate elections, justice, equity, accountability, transparency, responsible leadership, political education of the masses, efficient political institutions, respect for individual freedoms and the rule of law. It also affirms that a democratic environment creates an atmosphere where elections are free and fair. The National Assembly is the engine of our nation’s democratic governance. If it functions well, the democracy which is government of the people by the people and for the people will be achieved or realized. It draws from the constitution which provides the guidance for its legislative actions, management styles, policies, strategies and operational performance. The author also explains the meaning of oversight functions and how lawmakers as part of their oversight function should streamline credible monitoring processes, including establishing such laws to checkmate the excesses of the Presidency.
The author exhorts all political office holders and legislators at all levels to cultivate the spirit of good governance. It is important that they appreciate the fact that law making is a higher calling associated with great responsibility. They are required “to cultivate the spirit of visionary, courageous, selfless leadership and the will to restore the country to socio-economic, political and moral health. In addition they are each expected by the citizenry who voted them in to be quintessential statesmen who have the welfare of the people at heart and should work to make laws that will alleviate the deplorable living standard of the people”. The author also appealed to the lawmakers to produce leaders of the right quality and caliber to guide the affairs of the legislatures, adding that most lawmakers do not appreciate why they are elected to the National Assembly. He challenges the lawmakers to abide by spirit of statesmanship and minimize partisanship in all spheres of the system. They should build political will, which is needed to combat political corruption. The author further emphasized that the legislative system must foster personal integrity of legislators by enforcing codes of conduct for legislators-disclosure of assets, conflict of interest resolutions, campaign and political party finance, building transparency in wage levels and benefits, and ensuring that legislative immunity is not abused.
The book appeals to the National Assembly to address the common problems and challenges facing the nation and its future generations and advocates for a return to modesty and morality in a world that appears to be dominated by the excesses among the rich and the powerful. Problems such as youth unemployment, housing, urban-rural population drifts, inadequate and substandard health provisions, power sector reforms, educational systems which are in dire jeopardy as standards are fast fading with no one to the rescue, the monster of insecurity of lives and property and the need to re-position the security agencies, just to mention a few, are plaguing the country and degrading the socioeconomic status and living standards of its citizenry. The great divide between the Leaders and the Populace must be bridged to enable a strengthening of our democracy.
Poor Representation has denied the people the beneficial dividends of democracy. This is attributable to lack of awareness among the electorate to the necessity for electing the right candidates who would adequately represent their interests and make laws that will advance the value of democracy. The need to protect the voting rights of citizens was stressed and examples where one vote could make a difference in the welfare of a nation were used to illustrate the fact that “We the people can govern” if only we take our voting power seriously. To promote the growth of true democracy in Nigeria, the people should show greater involvement in the selection of their leaders by freely exercising their right to vote.
The book preaches the benefits of good governance based on veritable democratic principles and presents a message of new hope for good political environment which has eluded the country for so long. An appeal is made to all citizens including students in the Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other educational institutions to digest the message and join forces to ensure the sprouting, nurturing, and sustenance of true democracy in Nigeria which is the only panacea for propelling the country into a new era of economic and social progress.